September 2010

Chef Gary Giberson entertained and fed students, their parents and their teachers at the first Garden State on Your Plate tastings at Littlebrook  Elementary School and Community Park School. Here’s his recipe:

Chef Gary’s Salsa Picante
Makes about 2 cups

12 ounces tomatoes (2 medium ripe) cored and diced
3 serrano chiles, minced, stem and seeds removed (optional)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small white onion, diced
12 sprigs of cilantro, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon

1. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Let salsa stand a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
3. Taste for seasoning, adjust if needed and then serve.

Gary D. Giberson is executive chef at the Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, NJ, and executive chef and owner of Sustainable Fare.

With help from IESI, a New Jersey-based waste management company, the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York has succeeded in composting about 90 percent of its food waste, creating a soil supplement and reducing landfill contributions at the same time.

Originally, Diana Beltran [environmental development manager] told the staff she hoped to divert just one percent of the kitchen’s food waste into composting.

“If you put it that way, you put less pressure on the duties you’re adding to work,” she said. “They are more passionate about it. You’re going to do it because it’s the right thing to do. There were no expectations, just more than we were doing than before.”

Members of the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative are pleased to share with you news of a Farm to School pilot program at Community Park Elementary School and at Littlebrook Elementary School.

The Farm to School pilot program, funded by a $30,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will bring fresh produce and products from local farms into schools’ cafeterias, where local chefs will prepare recipes for tastings for the students, their parents, plus school employees.

The program is designed to feed students’ needs for fresh food and to begin to link for them the food they eat to the Garden State and to the larger world. Further, it will forge new bonds between schools, the community and local farmers.

Each of the four chefs – Chris Albrecht, Eno Terra Restaurant, Kingston; Alex Levine, Whole Earth Center, Princeton; Stu Orefice, director of dining services, Princeton University; and Gary Giberson of Sustainable Fare and executive chef at The Lawrenceville School – will appear at your school twice during the 2010-11 school year.

Other aspects of the program throughout the year include:

  • Farmers’ visits to schools;
  • Regular communication with parents via backpack notes and recipes to encourage their participation;
  • Plate-waste tracking to see what foods children favor;
  • Chefs’ recipes using Garden State produce;
  • Facilitating related field trips – one on the bus, and others, walking (at your convenience);
  • Scheduled tastings in the classrooms;
  • Make available supporting resources – films, books, etc. – about food and health,agriculture and the local economy;
  • Taking steps to institutionalize the Princeton Board of Education’s commitment to the state-mandated District Wellness policy now revised by the PRS Wellness Committee (draft version here);
  • Ongoing tweets and a blog (; and,
  • Creation of a documentary designed to help other schools in their Farm to School efforts.

In addition to generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this program, our school gardens, curriculum and education efforts also are supported by a local foundation and by the Garden Club of Princeton, the Garden Club of America-NJ, Whole Earth Center, small world, bent spoon ice cream, Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Windsor Compost, Belle Mead Co-op, and countless parents, teachers and administrators.