Vancouver teen embraces local food movement

Next Monday (Oct. 24) is national Food Day.

Several local groups are celebrating the event by hosting events that promote healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food.

Only one of those events will be hosted by local teenagers: the 100 Mile Lunch.

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics junior Justine Hanrahan is spearheading the effort at her school.

ImageJustine Hanrahan

The concept is simple. All of the food served in the meal is grown within 100 miles of the school.

In May, she hosted her first 100 Mile Lunch. About a dozen students and a handful of teachers showed up for the local meal.

“I liked how the students at the school were able to experience local food,” Justine said.

I went to the event – which featured chicken noodle soup, salad and bread – and wrote this story.

ImageSome of the food offered at the May lunch.

The folks with the Clark County Food System Council heard about Justine’s efforts and reached out to her to help celebrate Food Day with another event.

“It really made connections between my high school and all the different communities that work with the food systems,” Justine said of the first event.

This month’s lunch will include quiches, salad and bread. Vancouver caterer Jodell Hinojosa of Jo Foody is preparing the meal.

In addition, local businesses stepped up to help with the event.

Inspiration Plantation of Ridgefield donated eggs and onions. Osprey Organics of Vancouver donated produce. Neighbor’s Market of Vancouver is supplying food at cost.

The meal will cost students $2.60 – only 5 cents more than the school-provided lunch.

“We’re trying to keep the price down so that more people can eat the local food,” Justine said.

Thursday is the deadline for students to sign-up for the 100 Mile Lunch. As of Wednesday afternoon, Justine had 20 signed permission slips.

Justine’s efforts to promote local food goes beyond the 100 Mile Lunch.

This year, she founded a student club, Urban Green, to get teens more involved in the local food movement. The half dozen members of the club planned the upcoming lunch.

“We just want to do events that get teenagers more interested in local food and get them involved in a fun way,” Justine said.

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