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At Bend schools, ‘Farm to Table’ comes full-circle


It’s not your typical high school class. Bend-La Pine Schools’ Farm to Table program gives students a hands-on chance to learn about sustainable local eating.

Mountain View High students raise hogs on the farm. They send them to be slaughtered, and the hogs make their way to Bend High.

“I was not expecting it when I signed up for culinary,” Ivy Oxford, a Bend High student, said Thursday. “She was like, ‘So, we’re butchering tomorrow’ — and I was like, ‘Um, me?'”

Molly Ziegler is the culinary instructor who has taught the class for two years now. It is funded by grants.

Ziegler says she was interested right from the start, because she had experience butchering in culinary school. She helped the students take a stab at their butchering skills.

“I can teach the kids about sustainability and meat, primals, different cuts and how to cook the different sections,” Ziegler said.

Her 22 students worked on six hog halves. It took them less than an hour and a half to break them down to primals and de-bone them.

However, it doesn’t end there.

The meats are brought to the nutrition services program. There, they salt, smoke and shred the pork. It will be served to students next Monday for lunch.

“It’s just put on my plate, you know. And now that I got to experience the other side of it, that was really cool for me” Oxford said.

Students learn an appreciation for their food. Zeigler said she’s noticed their skills are making the cut outside the classroom as well.

“A lot of our students are employed at local restaurants as preppers, bussers and hostesses,” Ziegler said.

The program could be cultivating more than just a meal for a day.

“I think it would be really fun to work in the food industry, either catering or being a chef or owing my own restaurant,” said Kyler Karpstein, a Bend High culinary student.

From the farm, to the classroom, to the community, this program is coming full circle in Bend.

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