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Harvest Dinner Stories: Chef Seth

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Meet Seth Bostick, or as we know him, Chef Seth. During the week you can find him at KRMC as the Executive Chef and Thomas Cuisine Management. Outside of KRMC, Seth has been volunteering his time and expertise with CRYJ for over a year, teaching CRYJ youth how to create nutritious and creative meals at Central Kitchen. This year, we are lucky to have him as the Head Chef of our Harvest Dinner. He has already been hard at work crafting a mouth-watering menu featuring local ingredients from the valley, and will be supervising and managing the CRYJ youth in the kitchen the night of the Harvest Dinner.

At our recent Trellis Project Supper Club , I was able to snag his attention and ask him a few questions so we could get to know him better.

Alright Seth, who are you and how did you come to be?

I grew up on a farm in Orofino, Idaho with my grass-roots hippie parents from the Midwest and South. Every day my brother and I would go out and pick it with a salt shaker in one hand and a bag of sugar in the other- sugar for the rhubarb and salt for everything else. So, I’ve always been in love with food. Never has there been a time when I thought I wanted to do anything else. Every job I’ve had since I was 13 years old was in the food industry. I started washing dishes when I was 13 in the winter, and in the summer I’d be harvesting the farm fields. When I was given the opportunity to work within healthcare, I managed to finagle accounts that were into the idea of healthy foods as a healing process. Because of that ideology I was able to cherry-pick where I wanted to be. I began at a community medical center as a chef and then came up here to KRMC through the late president Velinda Stevens, who really believed in healthy food as an integral part to the healing process. Since then I’ve managed nine other hospitals as they’ve gotten into the same program and created food hubs.

I’ve also always loved working with kids and people. So whenever I was given the opportunity to do any sort of a program or go out and play with anybody I took it. It kind of just came naturally to me, I’m not sure why. And that’s just always been a part of what I do. I enjoy food and it’s simple roots. My French culinary background shows up in my cooking technique but it’s not where I end up. I use that technique to pair flavors up, understand them, understand seasoning, but I wouldn’t go as far to say as I doctor up the food so much that you don’t know what it is. I enjoy simple flavors.

CRYJ Supper Club
Chef Seth at the Trellis Project June Supper Club.

What do you love about what you do?

Organics. I love that everything comes out of the ground and it’s imperfect. It’s misshaped. It’s dirty. I love that it requires a tool that we can use as a craftsman. Just the same as a hammer is to a framer, or a paintbrush to a painter, a knife is to a chef. It’s my passion to be able to create, to pair flavors and have it all come together. You want to talk about a stacked deck, there’s 26 different levels before a dish even reaches the table, there’s just so much involved in it. And I love that everyday I learn.

What do you value about community?

I value trust, honor, and ethic, and those are all things that come with a tight-knit community. Those are all things that aren’t taken for granted. You can step into a large city and have tons of convenience and ample amounts of culture around, but you have no connection from one thing to the next. Whereas in a community such as ours, you have a chance to really reach out and touch a little bit of it. It’s nice. And everyone seems to have a genuine buy-in and care about everyone else.

CRYJ Supper Club
Chef Seth demonstrates how to use a tool to CRYJ youth.

How and why did you get involved with the harvest dinner?

I was introduced to (previous CRYJ Executive Director) Shareen & CRYJ through Jenny Montague who at the time was the Food Service Director for Kalispell Schools. We were both large proponents for the Farm-to-Fork movement. I was interested in how we could foster a collaboration between myself and the school to teach the school kitchens how to use local raw produce. We started this three years ago making pizza dough from scratch and pizza sauce to improve upon what the elementary & middle school kids were being served. Once that happened and was successful, Jenny approached me about CRYJ and Shareen wanting to do a class or something along those lines. A few weeks later I met Shareen & Whitney Pratt for lunch and we started a class within a few weeks of that meeting.

After just one class and I was hooked. The program works with kids that I easily identified with. I was once in their shoes (shoplifting, Jimi Hendrix CD, I was 14) and I did my community service at The Moscow Food COOP. I washed and organized produce and made tofu…I still remember the recipe. I am ultimately honored to help with CRYJ and hopefully inspire & motivate a few of the youths. It’s just an absolute pleasure to take 25 years of culinary knowledge and turn around and show it to somebody.

Join us August 18th to dine with Chef Seth!

Eventbrite - CRYJ's 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

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Harvest Dinner Stories: Two Bear Farm

 

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photography by Mandy Mohler.

CRYJ is incredibly lucky to have such awesome friends as Todd and Rebecca of Two Bear Farm. Their beautiful farm has been the setting for our Harvest Dinner from the beginning four years ago. We are continually impressed by their hard work and are proud that they will once again be hosting us for the Harvest Dinner this August 18th. We think they’re pretty neat, so we sent them a few questions so you could get to know them too!

Who are you? How did you come to be?

Rebecca and Todd both independently developed strong conservation ethics stemming from their experiences as children. Even though Todd grew up on a small farm, and was passionate about the outdoors and the environment, he never thought he’d be a farmer.  And Rebecca was the opposite. She grew up in the suburbs, but always dreamed of being a farmer. When we met, we realized that we both shared similar principles about life and food, and that we wanted to create change regarding our country’s food system.  We both shared a passion and a knack for farming, and we basically just created the reality that we wanted. The early years of the farm were really hard, but we believed in what we were doing, and we gained more and more community support each year, which allowed us grow. Now we take great satisfaction in that while we are still a very small farm, we are having a fairly significant impact in our community by providing lots of healthy food and bringing people together in the name of fresh food and good health.

Two Bear Farm, Whitefish MT, Organic Farm
Photography by Mandy Mohler.

What do you love about what you do?

Farming is very tangible and grounding work. Some times too tangible. But in the end, you only get out of it what you put into it, and it takes a lot of effort to be successful year in and year out, and that is a sort of badge of honor for us.  From a big picture standpoint, we hated the fact the the food quality in this country had become so low due to industrialization of our food system. The idea that corporate profits were driving the system with a total disregard to human health seemed completely backwards to us.  So we loved that our farming was a form of activism meant to better ourselves and our communities. Not only could we be outside, being good land stewards, and enjoying growing plants from a selfish standpoint, but at the same time we were having a bigger positive effect on the land and our customers.

What do you value about community?

At the end of the day, I think community is the most important scale. National politics dominate all the headlines, but so little of what happens in Washington really seems to matter in our day to day lives here. What’s much more important is your relationship with your neighbors, and the health of your home community. We live in an ever-increasing “connected” age, but people seem more disconnected than ever. Rural areas are shrinking, towns are losing their vibrancy and character, and everything is getting more centralized and consolidated. We feel very fortunate to live in a vibrant community like Whitefish, and we really feel like what we do helps to add in a small way to that vibrancy. It comes back to that point again about taking an active role in creating the reality that you want. Or as the paraphrased Gandhi quote says: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Two Bear Farm, Whitefish MT, Organic Farm
Photography by Mandy Mohler.

Why did you get involved with this CRYJ event?  

Honestly, we love our farm,and we loved sharing it with others. While the focus of CRYJ is not something that we were really familiar with or involved with, it all made sense from a community standpoint. We are all in this thing together. And a vibrant community needs to learn to be creative in dealing with all aspects and issues that it faces in order to be it’s best self. The idea that CRYJ was so focused on improving a system for the betterment of individuals, in this case the penal system, really resonated with us. Giving our youth a way out of their mistakes in order to live more fruitful futures was a much more compassionate approach to the status quo, and one that has been a huge success. We are inspired by their efforts to help others and improve the community at the same time, and we’re super excited to be part of the annual dinner.

Two Bear Farm, Whitefish MT, Organic Farm
Photography by Mandy Mohler.

Join us August 18th at Two Bear Farm!
Eventbrite - CRYJ's 4th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

All photos courtesy of Mandy Mohler, Field Guide Designs

Harvest Dinner Stories: Supporting the Trellis Project

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Buy Tickets to our 2017 Harvest Dinner

You could describe the Center for Restorative Youth Justice in many different ways. We are at once: a diversion program for youth who’ve had a run-in with the law, a forward-thinking bunch of people working to spread restorative practices throughout the state and beyond, a non-profit working to promote locally-grown organic food, or that group of passionate folks who will always drop what they’re doing to say hello and offer you a high-five. The truth is we wear a variety of hats, but whatever hat we have on, all our work comes down to one mission:

Empowering youth and strengthening communities.

The Trellis Project is the programming component we employ to work towards that mission. Over the past few years, as we have learned what works and what doesn’t work with the youth we serve, it has grown and changed into its current structure which encompasses community service and workshop opportunities for youth including:

  • Managing and harvesting fresh produce in the Central Kitchen Garden
  • Learning mind+body skills like conflict resolution
  • Writing a resume
  • Participating in drug/alcohol education classes
  • Receiving homework support
  • Completing a summer apprenticeship program where youth learn about the foodservice industry by providing local, organic produce to families in need through the
  • Creating of a youth-led farmer’s market stand

The Trellis Project is all about creating opportunities for youth to grow as individuals.

We often ask kids at the end of a service day, “Alright, we just learned some cooking skills and made a meal for a family in need; why do you think this counts as community service?” The answer is simple: we are all in community, together. We are here to take care of each other and take care of ourselves. Being able to show up as the best version of ourselves is a service to our community.

We are hosting our 4th Annual Farm-to-Table Harvest Dinner to showcase the hard work and personal growth of the Trellis Project youth, and to raise the funds necessary to continue providing this opportunity to local youth. In return for the generosity of our community, we will provide an outrageously delicious five-course dinner featuring locally-grown seasonal ingredients which will be expertly paired with craft beer from around the valley, all set on the gorgeous Two Bear Farm with live music to boot. We know these kids are worth it, and we want to show you that they are too. We are all in this, together.

Save the date: Friday, August 18th, 6:00 pm. Buy Tickets here.

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Sometimes we’ve got to share

A super-talented CRYJ kiddo recently drew this for her “art reflection” piece! Check out what she had to say about her art below.

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“The overall concept of my drawing is to set a mood that summarizes some of my main interests, and me as a person. Each object works with the others to explain me overall. The globe represents my family and love to travel, plus recognition to my family that I don’t live with.  The flower has simple meaning to me, yet means a lot to me personally. Basically it symbolizes love for myself and the little things I appreciate in my life. The compass represents my constant plans to adventure and go new places in my life, traveling wise and as a person.  The seashell correlates with the compass because the ocean is something I obsess over and hope to live by someday.  The sun necklace is a necklace I designed when I was nine, and I wear every day. The stone in the middle is Opal, which carries meaning such as inspiration, life, and soul.”

Dear Community…

One of the cornerstones of our program here at CRYJ is the “Dear Community” letter or Art Reflection Project. As part of their time with us, every youth will complete either a letter or other creative piece, such as a drawing, sculpture or poem, to reflect on their relationship to a community they are a part of, and where they are in life. Their insight is consistently awesome, but sometimes you get a piece so great you just need to share! The following poem was written by a talented dude and previous CRYJ Rockstar, Domonick B.

 

This is a reflection me
And what i want the world to see
18 years old with a future to unfold
I use music to expel knowledge
And continue to debate whether or not to goto college
Drugs and alcohol?
Nah i’d rather hang at the mall or play ball
My actions have taken their toll
Factions have separated sharp from dull
But somehow i still feel full
I get breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday
Roll a jay and smoke my life away
But today is a new day
A new start, it’s sad all the junkies i see at walmart
It breaks my heart
Press the push start just to walk in the dark
Broken ties were formed from stupid lies
Built trust just to let it combust
A getaway train to escape the rain is what drugs are to me
Just get high and say goodbye to the world
I want REAL friends
Not someone who calls me bro & the next day acts like they don’t know me
I miss the old days where i didn’t need drugs to have fun
But nowadays it seems like everyone’s on the run
Consequences for my actions is when reality began to unfold
My parents would scold but that did nothing, i was living in a mold
Sobriety brings clarity and a merit to live by
Chew on a carrot so i can open my eyes
I have a vision that hasn’t yet been seen with precision
A decision to better myself and gain commonwealth
I indulge off the wisdom of others
I want to lead a path for my brother and exceed expectations of my father and mother
I just want peace and love between one another
Never stutter just spread it like butter and pull my head out the gutter
A renegade hovering above satin and suede
I don’t wanna be an average black crow
I want to glow and share my passion just share a ration of compassion
And show the world fashion doesn’t matter

By Domonick B.

Poems from a CRYJ All Star

by Payton Buffington

I’m the bad kid
That’s what they say
When I do something wrong
But I brush it off
And continue my day
And prove them wrong

Then,
When they realize
I’m the friendliest around
They will be let down
They won’t misportray me
They’ll see the real me
And smile

Because,
They’ll see how kind I am
And feel blue
I, too, am human just like you

———————————————————–

The breeze of the wind can chill
And the scorch of the sun can burn
The bullet of the gun can kill
And the power of the court can adjourn
The thought of your future can scare
And before it all falls apart
And small holes start to tear
Do what you please and follow your heart

———————————————————–

I try
Because I want to succeed
To get away from greed
Because times like these it’s hard to lead
I’m too caught on giving others what they need
Carrying on seems like the best
Even though I’m not like the rest
Sometimes you just got to get it off your chest
It just so happens they’re the ones that brings me down
Only the good friends will stick around
I try to make my family proud
Just got caught up, like half this town
No one stops by to ask why
Why I want so badly want to succeed
To say I tried
I try, and no one knows why

To hold space

by Sophia Houghton

I started interning at CRYJ in June, 2016. I’ll never forget first taking in the space – it’s high, sturdy ceiling, the character-filled paintings and photos, and the colorful warn-in couches. It felt like walking into a warm, safe place. At the time, this was a relief because the different parts of my new life-situation were not yet warm or safe; I felt divided and scattered. During my interview with Anders, Catherine, and Kelsey, I was struck by how receiving and open they were to my story and how content they seemed within their environment and with each other. The nerves and critical standards I’d set for myself before entering that conversation became curiosity and admiration once they spoke to what CRYJ truly is: a place to be human.

Amidst waves of my own struggles, joys, high and low points, I grew to hold a deep connection with this place that upholds both passion – to make a community (and the world) more whole – and compassion – to accept and recognize people as people. I started participating in the Community Impact Circle, and each Monday night on the walk home I felt changed in both subtle and profound ways. There was something so honest about the concept and reality of those conversations. Whether or not individuals were able to verbalize their deeper truths in the moment, just being there and holding space together was always an honest experience. Through simply listening to people talking about their realities; through these miniscule glimpses into both pain and connection, I learned lessons that I believe will guide me for the rest of my life. I learned that, no matter how big my small world of experiences and environments has felt, there are entire universes which I have yet to understand, and ones that I may only be able to give deep empathy to. I learned to accept the inherently flawed nature of community; that seeking positive change is what brings people together – not being in a constant state of perfection. I learned that resilience needs love and acknowledgement. I learned that it really is possible to commit one’s life (and my life) to seeking and making that change. Catherine, Kelsey, Kate, Burket and Shareen have helped me believe that on a core level. The families and youth that I have shared space with and listened to have taught me the humility and grace of looking beyond the barrier between “self” and “other”.

By providing intentional space where shame is allowed to represent an opportunity for growth instead of a catalyst of destruction, CRYJ is a healing movement. I am deeply grateful to have been even a small part of the conversations, tasks, laughter, quiet moments, and courage that make such a movement possible. Thank you – to this community and to the people who dedicate their time, energy, thoughts, and passion to CRYJ.

Editor’s Note: Sophia has been an incredible asset to CRYJ in her time here, and we are all so proud of her. She is going to change the world. 

Update: CRYJ garden harvests 1,208 pounds of produce

By Anders Olson

When working in CRYJ’s Garden success can be measured in many ways. Some would say that the 1208 pounds of produce we have harvested this year would indeed quantify our success. For me it is not the amount of food we pulled out, but the effort we put in, growing so much more than food.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry sums this essence up best in the Little prince when he wrote:

“If you tell grown-ups, “I saw a beautiful red brick house, with geraniums at the windows and doves on the roof…,” they won’t be able to imagine such a house. You have to tell them, “I saw a house worth a hundred thousand francs.” Then they exclaim, “What a pretty house!”

This year we not only harvested a great amount of food, but we harvested friendships, smiles, laughter, hardships, learning opportunities, new skills, new experiences and of course some carrots.

So our garden is not just a place where an impressive 1208 pounds of food was harvested; it is a place where strangers came together, people with varying backgrounds working side by side, not only learning about gardening but about each other.
Though we planted carrots and tomatoes we harvested community and connection!

 

What we’re tuning in to

Have you ever heard an unfamiliar term for the first time only to encounter it again and again within a couple of days? This is called the “frequency illusion” or the “Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon”. When I first applied to CRYJ I was unfamiliar with restorative justice, but soon it kept popping up in my internet surfing, conversations, etc – even before I got hired with CRYJ. When my ears were tuned in, I kept finding information everywhere.

Well, if your ears are tuned in to the world of restorative justice, there are a ton of articles, TED talks, interviews, etc. on the topic. We’ve had a plethora of interesting pieces come across our desk lately. This is what we’re tuned in to:

U.S. House Committee Advances Bill to Support Youth Opportunity, Improve Juvenile Justice System The U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce unanimously approved a bill recently that would help state and local leaders better serve at-risk youth and youth offenders. This piece of bipartisan legislation reauthorizes and strengthens the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The JJPDA was passed in 1974 as a means of allocating federal funds to state juvenile justice systems for the purpose of education and rehabilitation for youths. This new piece of legislation, Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act, will allow states the flexibility to tailor their programs and services to better suit their specific communities and their needs, as well as supporting and strengthening prevention services for at-risk youth. A win for RJ!

A Silent Epidemic NPR recently released this interactive story outlining the struggles public schools face in dealing with mental illness in their students. Mental illness in youths, whether it is depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc., if left untreated severely impacts their ability to learn, can be disruptive to other students. Although schools would benefit greatly from a network of help – from teachers to counselors to school psychologists to help students suffering from a mental illness get the treatment they need.

Sujatha Baliga: Forgiveness of Unforgivable Acts A wonderful interview with an incredible woman who works through her own anger at her abuser without losing her motivation to help other victims of abuse. She meets with the Dalai Lama himself who asks her, “Do you feel you have been angry long enough?” This is an engrossing read on when anger can serve us, and when it no longer serves us how to let go.

New All-Boys School Opens In Washington, D.C. To Some Controversy  An all-boys public school opens in D.C. with a focus on restorative instead of punitive justice – but is met with controversy. The school is meant to address specific problems within the males-of-color community, through an affirmative college-prep school program but is currently fielding a complaint from the ACLU through a report called “Leaving Girls Behind”.

Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’ Jay Z wrote and narrates this video, with illustrations from Molly Crabapple on a brief history of the war on drugs, and how it has failed the American people – namely people of color. The video tries to tackle the question “Why were white men poised to get rich doing the very same thing that African-American boys and men had long been going to prison for?”

Find something you think we’d be interested in? Send it to Kelsey at info@restorativeyouthjustice.org

Ain’t no rest for the happiest nonprofit!

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas A. Edison

Hello and welcome to the new CRYJ Blog!

Even though school is out for summer, we’re working away on lots of great projects here at CRYJ. The first of which (and if you are reading this, you are already aware) is a brand-spankin’-new website! Kelsey has been messing around with the CRYJ site to bring you a more user-friendly, streamlined version of the same CRYJ you know and love. Everything is always a work in progress, and the more we learn, the more we change. So, things will probably shift around on here, but fear not, it is for the greater good!

Moving forward with our new site and blog, we hope to have some of our kiddos write guest posts, do a deeper dive into our beliefs and the work we do, and keep everyone updated on us. We will also be filling in the FAQ, Resources and Community Partners pages. If you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see please let us know.

We are also currently in the throes of the 2nd annual Great Fish Challenge! The Great Fish Challenge is is a Whitefish Community Foundation annual giving campaign designed to maximize your donation! From July 12th 2016 through September 16th 2016, all donations made to CRYJ through the Great Fish Challenge site will be matched at a percentage. In 2015, all donations were matched at 53%, with additional incentive grants available. A total of $1.1 M was raised for 32 nonprofits in the area. We are excited about this unique opportunity to reach some important goals this year!

And, finally, the one project that has us most excited and frantic, CRYJ’s 3rd annual Harvest Dinner! This year we are working with a Latin American theme, meaning there will be some fiery flavors from our local chefs and brewers and fantastic Latin Jazz from Cocinando. We’re on the last legs of figuring out our sponsors for the event, and public ticket sales launched last week. This is going to be So.Much.Fun. and we can’t wait to see our awesome community out on Two Bear Farm, chowing down on some great food – featuring some ingredients from our own CRYJ gardens – and supporting a truly wonderful group of youth participants as they help serve and share stories during the evening!

Look for: Harvest Dinner updates, Great Fish updates, more blog posts, a fully-realized site!