Categorized | A Conversation With

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz

Posted on 21 November 2012

By Annette Hinkle

Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, a Bridgehampton High School teacher and a founder of the Edible School Garden Group on the East End talks about the group’s current Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new “locally sourced” book for families.

What is the Nutritious Delicious FoodBook?

It’s not a cookbook – it’s a food book. The main distinction is it’s not meant to be precious. It’s not a coffee table book or something you put in the closet. It’s meant to demystify cooking, nutrition and what you should eat and why. Is also gives techniques to navigate through food confusion — eating well without lots of money and knowledge. We want to give it out for free and show people how to grow their own food.

How did the idea for the book come about?

Through the edible schoolyards, we were teaching kids where their food comes from. Then they would go home and we realized their parents had grown up with fast food and processed food. We had to educate beyond the classroom and hit the families, caregivers and guardians.

Last year we solicited recipes from students and families. Each section of our book will have a recipe from a student in our schools and other recipes from local chefs.

What’s the ultimate goal for The FoodBook?

We’re being ambitious. We want to give a lot of information. It will tell you what’s healthy, what’s a good source of protein and what to eat in combination. We want to be succinct about the information — the how, why and where issues of eating. Our recipes are going to be a combination of traditional recipes with measurements, but also the Jaime Oliver style — take some cantaloupe, mix with grape tomatoes, a handful of cilantro and a little balsamic.

If its not intimidating, and you say “add a little of this,” it’s delicious and easy — a child can do it. When they come home from school and you’re at work they can do this without the stove. So many kids are on their own for their meals. This gives them the means to take charge of their own health and pick up where the last generation dropped off.

This is meant to be a model — something that can be done anywhere in the world.

If you reach the Kickstarter goal, the book will be given to East End families next September. There will also be a digital version. Why both?

We want it to be 21st century. Instead of a section on knife skills and healthy techniques, we can give a link online to find it. If it makes it as an eBook we can include a link right on the page. But some people don’t have Internet and computers, so it’s important to have a hard copy. We’re trying to cover as many people as possible, including the Latino and African American communities.

The online Kickstarter campaign began October 27. Two days later Hurricane Sandy hit. If you don’t raise $15,000 by November 30, you get none of the money pledged. How close are you?

We have about 50 percent of the funds raised. It is very difficult to ask for money for this when there is immediate need for the hurricane. But we’re determined. We’ve come this far and we have momentum. It’s such a good cause — this storm highlights issues of food security and food insecurity. [Chef] Bryan Futerman sent me a picture of bare shelves after the hurricane. We’re so reliant on food coming from elsewhere. It’s something we need for survival.

To contribute to the campaign, go to www.Kickstarter.com and search for “The FoodBook.” Pledges must be made by November 30. Various contribution levels are available and include everything from a copy of the book to a gourmet dinner prepared at your home by local chefs.

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