(By Pachia Vang) It was the first question our instructor asked us and we, bright-eyed and food-curious students, had a variety of answers! From being new Davis residents keen to learn more about the local food co-op, to wanting new tips on how to jazz up old soup recipes, it was clear that each student was on a mission of their own.

What led me to the Davis Food Co-op’s “Intro to Soups & Stews” class? Well for starters soups are my favorite comfort food. When I came across the class on the Co-op’s Cooking calendar I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to improve on my soup skills. And with a “Not-So-Creamy Creamy Vegetable Soup” on the learning menu for the night, I was excited that we were cooking something not only healthy for us but also for the environment! That’s what my favorite part about the Co-op is!

When we think about what kind of a foot print we are leaving behind on this planet an important part of what we need to consider is our food print. What are we eating and how are these choices making an impact on the world around us? One of the significant ways we can lower our carbon food print is to eat less meat and dairy. But there are a variety of ways that we can reduce our food print and making smarter food choices starts with knowing where our food comes from. The best way you can begin doing this is to become more interactive with your food by cooking more!

Use vegetable trimmings to make a delicious vegetable stock for your soups before composting!
Use vegetable trimmings to make a delicious vegetable stock for your soups before composting!

Whether you are an experienced cook or just starting out, the Co-op’s cooking classes are an exciting way to join in on the food sustainability movement because the cooking lifestyle they promote embrace healthy, wholesome, and local recipes!

Your food print includes your food waste and Co-op instructors offer great tips on how to be creative and resourceful with your food. Did you know, for example, that before tossing vegetable trimmings out into the compost bin you can use them to make a delicious vegetable stock? The mouth-watering broth for our soup was packed with an array of carrot skins, onion ends, zucchini peelings, and a celery root (just to name a few).

The Davis Food Co-op’s January calendar was filled with introductions to healthy staples like beans and greens, along with fun do-it-yourself classes on sourdough, homemade granola, and beer brewing! I enjoyed soups & stews so much that I returned to learn how to make Kombucha and received my very own symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (or SCOBY) to start my first batch.

If you’ve missed out on these great classes, however, don’t feel bad! The Co-op has an entire year full of ongoing classes and February has French Desserts and Chocolate Truffles in line for you to make something sweet for family and friends on Valentine’s Day. It’s still a bit chilly out but stick around into the summer and you’ll be able to cook a meal out in the sun with one of their awesome Solar Cooking classes.

Keep them on your calendar!

All local businesses, organizations, and other groups are welcome to apply to become a Cool Davis Partner.

Check out How to Become a Cool Davis Partner to learn more.

Click here for a full list of Cool Davis Partners.