In the 1934 movie, “It’s A Gift” W. C. Fields stars as a shopkeeper who can’t find his kumquats. “Ah yes. A pound of kumquats. I seem to have some around here somewhere.” I don’t think that W. C. ever finds his kumquats in the movie even after frantically looking for them.
Kumquats, by the way, are a citrus, orange-like fruit with a very thick skin and a usual name. They are primarily used to make chutney.
You don’t hear very much about kumquats nowadays unless you’re into making chutney, so it came as sort of a surprise when I learned that “Camp Kumquat” was the name of an organic farm run by some students from Washington University here in St. Louis.
According to the Healthy Planet Magazine, Camp Kumquat is designed to help students get in touch with where their food comes from. Daily activities there include a mini farmer’s market, games, visits from members of the community, and healthy snack making. They also make items that can be purchased and taken home.
Each day there is a different food related theme. One day the theme was “Is This One Big Corny Joke?” It was all about the corn: how it’s grown, how it’s processed and how it gets into practically everything that we eat. There was even a lecture by a professor who studies the genetic modifications of the stuff.
At Camp Kumquat they not only want to learn how to eat healthy and organic, but also the why and where of food and how it got to be that way in America. Food history is also an important part of their learning. Every food item in a particular meal is mapped to determine where it comes from.
At the end of the harvesting season, the student farmers join their counterparts at the Burning Kumquat Farm, (there’s another one?) at the North Side Farmer’s Market in the city to sell te fresh, organic produce that they have grown.
I think it’s great that the whole foods movement that has been building for a number of years has finally reached the schools. These students have gone from living on a diet of greasy fast food to making healthy, informed choices about what they put in their bodies. They are no longer content to just eat food that is labeled “organic” either. Instead, they want to know where it comes from and how it got there. They realize that a lot of the time food that is labeled organic really isn’t as natural as it claims to be.
If you want to learn more and maybe even visit the farm then check out at: campkumquat.blogspot.com
Source: FBI (Food Bureau of Investigation), http://www.thehealthyplanet.com/aug09_at.htm