As a child, Israeli-born Eden Vardy wanted to know where his food came from. And since he grew up in Aspen, Colorado, his food generally came from a supermarket and was probably transported from far away. As he grew older and learned more about food, the locavore movement, and the environmental benefits of eating local food, he was dismayed to learn about the absence of eco-minded food instruction in Aspen. After completing his studies (which included a Green Apprenticeship at Kibbutz Lotan in Israel), Vardy decided to do something to educate kids about real food back in his hometown and started Aspen T.R.E.E.
T.R.E.E. stands for “together regenerating the environment through education” and has many programs that try to achieve that goal.
One of the main goals of T.R.E.E. is to try to resolve the disconnect between modern society and its food sources. (Or, in other words, explain to people that food doesn’t come from the supermarket.) But Vardy does not focus on negativity, as he sees this as one of the weaknesses of the environmental movement. Instead, Vardy and his organization focus on positive solutions.
“We focus on sustainable solutions,” Vardy said. And if one is creative and artistic in the process, “that will inspire people.”
One of T.R.E.E.’s programs is the Cozy Point Ranch Sustainable Farmyard, which welcomed hundreds of kids this past summer as a summer camp program. The Farmyard is essentially an outdoor classroom where children can learn about various species of plants and animals, and witness self-sustaining and self-sufficient agricultural ecosystems.
T.R.E.E. is also responsible for a free annual organic community Thanksgiving meal served at the Aspen High School that feeds up to 700 people.
Other programs include custom garden consulting and “nature nannies” – a child care service that introduces children to nature and more wholesome foods.
Vardy hopes that once T.R.E.E. is successful in Aspen, he will be able to export the concept to other communities in the United States.
Read more about eco-friendly food initiatives::
Interview with Locavore Expert Leda Meredith
Eating Real Food Can Save the Environment
Beirut’s Souk el Tayeb Farmer’s Market Celebrates Healthy Local Food Traditions
Image via: Frank Kovalchek