FFA advisor Alice Dubois of Ponchatoula, Louisiana recently partnered with New Orleans’ chef Dickie Brennon to create a farm-to‐ table benefit dinner.
The ‘Food for Thought’ dinner was held at the Le Fleur de Lis Restaurant in Ponchatoula, Louisiana on February 24. Ten percent of the proceeds were donated to Our Daily Bread Food Bank. The rest went to the school’s Agriscience department and will be used to conduct additional service learning projects.
The produce for the dinner came from the Ponchatoula FFA chapter’s gardens, where the students grow vegetables, strawberries and herbs in both spring and summer gardens. Their excess produce is regularly donated to local homeless shelters, food banks, and senior citizen apartment complexes.
For the Farm-to-Table benefit, the students began raising duck to add to the menu.
When asked about the inspiration for the project, Mrs. Dubois said:
”A farm‐to‐table” meal is an excellent concept that can be used to teach so many different things from world hunger to local food production. We want anyone who comes to this event to leave with a much greater understanding of the farmers in the community and the availability of fresh food to all groups, to understand that there is food insecurity in our local community.”
Alice Dubois has taught Agriscience courses for 17 years. She continues to incorporate horticulture concepts into her curriculum because she believes it is a great learning tool for students. It helps them to learn, not only about plant science and environmental issues, but also about the value in what they are doing. Through the ag program they learn the skills required to grow food, and experience the satisfaction that comes from providing food for themselves and their communities.
This story was adapted from “Ponchatoula High School Students Present ‘Food for Thought’ a Farm-to-Table Dining Experience” which appeared in Volume 3, Issue 1 of Veggie Bytes, published by Louisiana State University’s Ag Center.