LOCAL FOOD: Feeding Ourselves in a High Cost World


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Julie Bora



As food prices remain volatile, our nation that was once one of local farmers is returning to its roots. Whether you are a K-12 teacher who is an old hand at gardening or one who likes to stay healthy via visits to Farmers Markets, a member of a CSA or just plain new to it all, Local Food is fresh fare for any of us with good taste. So come on down and sample a medley of assignment options that feature the delights and benefits brought to your community and school by local food.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Developed a focused awareness concerning local food alternatives that can replace the sickening industrial foods of big agribusiness.
  2. Reflected on their own habits as a consumer in the total and a local economy, with consideration in how to bring these values forward in their teaching.
  3. Visited a local Farmer’s Market and evaluated a possible Local Food fit for synergy with existing curriculum.
  4. Investigated Community Supported Agriculture.
  5. Learned how to design, set-up, and sow a school garden, inside or out.
  6. Accessed an inventory of print and Internet resources that provide an overview as well as additional detailed descriptions of abundance methods used in small-scale gardening.
  7. 400/500 credit: Planned and implemented an action project or unit of study for/with students which features methods for gardening in small spaces (micro-farming.)

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Participants taking the course at 400/500 credit please purchase a required text:
Grades K-5       Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
Grades 6-12     The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel and Jean Nick
                         (K-12 optional additional text)                 
                         How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System Secrets and Techniques
                        You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables
(Back to Basics) 2nd Revised ed. Edition.

  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
    ISBN# 0761110569
    by Lovejoy, Sharon
    Workman Publishing Company

    Buy from Amazon
  • The New Seed-Starters Handbook (Rodale Organic Gardening)
    ISBN# 1635651042
    by Bubel, Nancy, Nick, Jean
    Rodale Books

    Buy from Amazon
  • How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables
    ISBN# 1620230135
    by Smith, Kelly
    Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.

    Buy from Amazon





Assignment #1: At Home in Nature

“It has been written that children must have an opportunity to bond with the natural world to learn to love it and to feel comfortable in it before being asked to heal its wounds.” -Aldo Leopold’s daughter
Please watch: Aldo Leopold Nature Center - Foxfires & Fireflies
Task: Design and put into use a daily routine for students, a daily routine that fosters a sense of care and connectedness to our shared biosphere and the land. In a 2-3 page paper introduce yourself and describe your new routine and how you will get it up and running.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #1.’

Assignment #2: You choose: Total Economy or Local Economy?

Read: The Idea of a Local Economy by Wendell Berry, published in Orion magazine.
"The idea of a local economy rests upon only two principles: neighborhood and subsistence..."
Think: How might you massage the message above to introduce your students to local economy as the miraculous alternative to our destructive total economy.
Task: Compile a minimum of five(5) or more age appropriate essential questions to guide students as they learn about Total and Local Economies. Use Google searches to develop your own possible answers to each question.
In a series of 5 or more paragraphs: 1) present each essential question 2) explain your rationale 3) list a few possible answers stemming from your Google search.
A minimum of five (5) questions is required to complete this assignment.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #2.’

Assignment #3: Supermarket Superlatives!

With intentions to support local economies, many of us have turned to organics in the supermarket as a conscious alternative, but what are we purchasing there? Michael Pollan cautions that “organic is in many ways beginning to repeat the mistakes of the industrial food chain.”
Please watch: Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Start viewing in the middle at 20:20 and stop at 29:43.
Task: On your next grocery store/supermarket foray, locate and take note of at least 5 organic foods you might buy or do buy. Search the packaging and labels for any “evocative prose” that subconsciously lured you in.
*    Create a 3 - column table.
*    First column: list the organics you investigated
*    Second column: checkmark organic foods you chose because of what Pollan calls "evocative prose"
*    Third column: note purer options and explain your reasons.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #3.’

Assignment #4: How to Find Farm Fixings

Read: Eating Local: A Matter of Integrity
Locate local Farmers’ Markets by typing your zip code into the website below:
Visit a local Farmers’ Market (in off season visit a local store carrying some of the producers’ goods.)
*     What kinds of produce are the locals growing? organic, biodynamic,
      seasonal, local and/or regional?
*     What processed food vendors are present? Interview them.
      Are they using organic ingredients? Homegrown ingredients? Their own recipes?
      Their local brew? Their own chickens, goats, cattle, lambs?
*     What other products made from natural sources are represented
       (pottery, beeswax, cosmetics, flowers, jams, soaps, woolen slippers, wreaths,
       kimchi, chocolates, baked goods and so forth)?
*     Is there entertainment? Musicians? Other?
*     Collect business cards that offer products that you are likely to purchase.
Task: Are You a Local Seasonal Eater?  
Write down 10 questions for students, questions which would reveal whether or not they eat locally produced seasonal foods.
(Looking for some prompts?
In several paragraphs describe how you might integrate this questionnaire and/or its data to work synergistically with existing curriculum.
Submit BOTH your questionnaire and the paragraphs to the instructor.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #4.’

Assignment #5: The Garden of Eatin’

Listen to Michael Pollan’s story of his internship at Polyface Farm.
Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Begin watching at 30:00
Task: In a 2-3 page composition,
a)    Interpret the story: describe how the inter-relationship between cows,
       chickens and other holistic practices makes Polyface Farm so remarkable.
       Provide details to share why the owner of Polyface Farm calls himself a “grass farmer.”
       Use evidence to explain why would we call him a steward of the land.
b)    Refer to Pollan’s Polyface internship to elaborate on how you might integrate his story into a lesson.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #5.’

Assignment #6: All About the CSA!

Watch the presentations below:
Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture: What to expect when you join a farm
Now go to the US Dept of Agriculture’s website to find a CSA near you.
USDA Community Supported Agriculture
Task: Design a lesson to discuss and gather a minimum of five (5) actions we consumers
might make to support and benefit from CSAs in your neighborhood.
(Use the Heritage Lesson Plan Template or one from your school district)
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #6.’



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #7: School Gardening Activity

All teachers K-12
Conduct an internet search to survey a minimum of 3 of the following methods for gardening in small spaces. (micro-farming)
¥  Companion Planting
¥  Hydroponics
¥  Indoor School Gardens
¥  Intercropping
¥  Multicropping
¥  Nook Gardening
¥  Permaculture and the “layering effect”
¥  Square Foot Gardening
¥  Succession Planting or Continual Harvest
¥  Vertical Growing
¥  Wide-Row Planting
¥  Free Find/Your Choice! __________________________________
Grade K-5 teachers
Browse and then select 5 activities from the K-6 course text: Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots.
Grade 6-12 teachers
Browse and then select 5 activities from the 7-12 course text: The New Seed-Starters Handbook.
Create a 3-column table with five (5) rows and three (3) columns.
*    First column: names of your selected activities
*    Second column: match a micro-farming technique to each activity listed. Annotate accordingly.
*    Third column: use numbers to prioritize the matchups in order of preference and feasibility
Task: Choose one (1) of the following assignment options below.
Option A)
Implement the micro-farming activity with your students.
Observe how the activity is received by learners and examine its outcomes.
Based on your analysis and student feedback, write a 1-2 page report that features your activity, its design, format, presentation and flow. Please note your own suggested modifications for the next go round.
Send the Table and your report to the instructor.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #7-A.'
Option B) Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.
Develop a sequence of 1-3 lessons to reflect learning from your course text.
Share your lesson plans for a micro-farming activity and solicit feedback. (Do not implement it.)
Compose a Newbie Note or Memo to a Colleague as a guide for planning and implementation.
Send your Table and Note or Memo to the instructor.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #7-B.'

Assignment #8: Compost Credentials

Learn more about compost: decide how to revitalize and prepare soil for a designated garden bed, be it in containers or in the schoolyard. Use Google search and/or YouTube or refer to the optional text below:
How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System: Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables (Back to Basics) 2nd Revised ed. Edition.  
Task: In a 2-3 page write-up, explain how to formulate and use compost to prepare the soil in the class garden activity chosen as your favorite in assignment #7.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #8.’

Assignment #9: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete two (2) of the following assignment options:

Option #9-A: Just Say Yes To Slow Food!
Learn more about Slow Food by visiting the website below and other related media that interests you.
Task: Investigate billboard elements: How to Design a Billboard
Design a billboard to promote Slow Food in your community and for passersby.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #9-A.
Option #9-B: Book Review
Go to the Amazon website. Choose Books, type in the search box a topic of interest from or related to this course. Choose three (3) “Look Inside” Books to browse through. 
Task: Write a minimum of a three (3) page Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down review for one (1) of the books based on whether or not you would want to learn and share more by obtaining the actual book. 
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #9-B.’
Option #9-C: Another Assignment of your Own Design
Develop an assignment of your own choice with the instructor’s prior approval.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ‘Local Food #9-C.’


Assignment #10: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Julie Bora, M.S.T.  B.S. Biology/Pharmacology   *    M.S.T. Elementary Education - Pre-K, Kindergarten and Grades 1- 6 .

As a practitioner of light touch supervision,  I promote an artistic spirit, one that grabs from experiences, suggestions, observations, questions, relationships, the ones that fit you most.

An artistic spirit will guide you to do the thing your own way while listening to your intuition, your creative force, and sometimes with a nudge and support from someone else.

So go ahead, choose an adventure that commands your thoughts and liberates your energy.

Are you ready to try something new, now? Come on, jump in and let the magic happen.




LOCAL FOOD: Feeding Ourselves in a High Cost World

Bubel,Nancy and Nick, Jean,The New Seed-Starters Handbook (Rodale Organic Gardening) Rodale Books; Revised, Updated edition (January 30, 2018.). ISBN-13: 978-1635651041. 464 pages.
Why start with seeds? A couple of good reasons: minimize chance introduction of soilborne diseases into your garden, brighten up winter doldrums. Start with seeds and raise healthier seedlings!
Course text for 7-12 teachers.
Dannenmaier, Molly, A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children, Timber Press; Updated Pbk. Ed edition (January 15, 2008) ISBN-13: 978-0881928433. 180 pages.
This beautiful book is chock full of innovative examples, supported by plenty of photos, to show how to create special places in nature for children to play outdoors, with carefree abandon, after school and all year round!
Jaffe, Roberta, et. al. The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science. National Gardening Association (2007) ISBN-13: 978-0915873487. 464 pages.
“This grade 2-6 curriculum features hands-on strategies for managing garden-based science instruction including planning a garden laboratory, facilitating investigative lessons on ecology and nutrition, and involving the community in learning activities.”
Jeavons, John., How to Grow More Vegetables, Ninth Edition: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine 9th Edition. Ten Speed Press; 9 edition (July 25, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-0399579189. 264 pages.
"There are two kinds of vegetable gardeners--those who garden in beds of some kind and for whom this is the ultimate foundation book… Then there are those who don't garden in beds, for whom it's still a must-read and an essential reference. The full title...actually understates the contents. The book is about how to grow pretty nearly all your food and your garden's fertilizer on a modest amount of land."
—Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
Kingsolver, Barbara, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- A Year of Food Life, Harper (May 1, 2007)
ISBN-13: 978-0060852559. 384 pages.
Experience how a family of four abandoned the total economy pipeline and went local for a year. Like them students can learn to appreciate the homegrown pleasures found in their own garden and in those of the community where they live. Lots of resources in the back of the book!
Kujawski, Jennifer and Ron, The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook: Make the Most of Your Growing Season Spiral-bound, Storey Publishing, LLC; Original edition (January 8, 2011.)
ISBN-13: 978-1603426947, 200 pages.
This year long gardening calendar is suitable for all gardening zones. Not only does it discuss and illustrate gardening tips, but it also has instructions for putting up food for winter as well as recipes and further reading suggestions.
Lappe, Frances Moore & Lappe, Anna, Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. Reprint edition (April 28, 2003.). ISBN-13: 978-1585422371. 464 pages.
Promoting a local economy for over 30 years, Frances and her daughter travel the world to learn how we think about food and hunger. Book includes over 70 recipes, from the Slow Food pioneers, in celebration of vegetables in the yard and on the table.
Lovejoy, Sharon, Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots, New York, NY: Workman Publishing. 1999.
ISBN-13: 978-0761110569. 176 pages.
Readers can almost picture Mother Nature leaning over Lovejoy's shoulder advising: "Don't forget herbal remedies" (she doesn't) or "Do include craft ideas" (she does-from a prosaic worm box to fanciful dream pillows).- School Library Journal
Course text for K-6 Teachers.
Nearing, S. & Nearing, H., The Good Life, Schocken Books,1990. ISBN-13: 978-0805209709. 400 pages.
The great grandparents of the back to the land movement explain how they judiciously used what was native to their area, blueberries and maple syrup, to model wise stewardship of the land. Anyone who wants to grow a hearty organic vegetable garden should read their section on building a garden soil with compost and no artificial fertilizer.
Oehler, Mike, The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book, Mole Publishing; 2 edition (February 5, 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0960446407. 285 pages.
Chock full of know-how for constructing an energy free year-round greenhouse. Learn how to use gravity to warm your winter plants. Who says eating from your garden has to be seasonal!
Pollan, Michael, Omnivore’s Dilemma A Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Books; First edition (April 11, 2006.) 468 pages.
Smith, Kelly. How to Build, Maintain, and Use a Compost System Secrets and Techniques You Need to Know to Grow the Best Vegetables (Back to Basics) 2nd Revised ed. Edition.  Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.; 2nd Revised ed. edition (September 21, 2015) ISBN-13: 978-1620230138. 288 pages.
“This book provides a detailed outline of how anyone with a little extra space and a garden can start composting today.” “Though targeted at beginners, the book has something to offer everyone whether rank amateur or advanced expert.”
Optional text for Assignment #8.
Wylie,Tammy, Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden, Rockridge Press (July 9, 2019) ISBN-13: 978-1641525091. 142 pages.
Raised beds have been popular for decades. This book will guide you from start to finish in creating and maintaining a raised bed garden. Use your space efficiently and stay organized.
Web-based Resources
Donors Choose
Raise funds for class gardening activities!
The Geopolitics of Food Scarcity by Lester Brown,1518,606937,00.html
Aldo Leopold Nature Center - Foxfires & Fireflies
The Idea of a Local Economy by Wendell Berry, published in the Winter 2001 issue of Orion magazine
Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Tilth Producers Directory
Farmer’s Markets in Your State
Community Supported Agriculture 
USDA Community Supported Agriculture
Slow Food International
AgVenture is an easy company to work with and you cannot beat the service. When I have questions about my crops I call AgVenture and they are here right away helping me find the answer. --- Kansas Farmer.
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
Offers a wide variety of bilingual (Spanish/English) lesson plans for all grades.
Edible School Yard
Farm to School
The Great Plant Escape
An online elementary plant science program for 4th and 5th grade students.
Local Harvest
Action for Healthy Kids
The National Farm- City Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council
Lots of articles for creating lessons!