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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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October 07, 2010

Grokfeast in Burnsville, North Carolina

By Mark Sisson
32 Comments

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

The Arthur Morgan School Grokfeast was held at 5:00pm on September, 2010. We are a boarding and day school for 7-9th graders in the mountains of western North Carolina. Our program is based on the philosophies of Johann Pestalozzi, N.S.F. Grundtvig, Mahatma Gandhi, Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and Arthur Morgan as well as the Quaker values of simple living, consensus decision-making, and non-violent problem solving. Our experiential program includes a variety of camping trips, field trips, and hands-on work on our small farm which includes caring for sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys. The quality of the food we eat at the school is important to us, so we try to grow and preserve as much as we can from our own garden while including the students in this as part of their education. We order our bulk foods from the most sustainable and organic sources we can afford. Each year we raise and slaughter chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat. The students participate in the entire process if they wish.

The students and staff were very excited to have a Grokfeast and really got into dressing for the party. They even decorated the school’s Zoogle stick with burlap and fur. Zoogle is the game we officially decided to play at our Grokfeast, although other games such as apple & stick baseball, and a boulder toss sprang up on their own. Zoogle is played with everyone standing in a circle. The stick, which is weighted on each end with an additional sliding weight in the middle, is tossed randomly across and around the circle. The person throwing it must give it a good throw, and the person catching it must catch it between two designated markers with one hand and throw it again in the same way they caught it or they lose the ability to use an arm. The second time it is missed or thrown poorly, the person who made the mistake loses a leg (meaning they must stand on one leg), the next time both legs (bringing them to their knees). If it is missed again, the person is out of the game. The last player who remains after all others have “lost” all their limbs wins the game.

Following the game of Zoogle we circled up for a moment of silence as is the tradition here at AMS. Each person who brought food described what they brought and where the ingredients came from. In the end approximately 95% of the food served was raised, grown, gathered, and prepared within 1/2 a mile of the feast (this includes the meat), meaning that the whole feast cost approximately $12 for food that was not grown by the people who brought it. Most people walked to the feast, meaning only two cars were used to transport people to and from the feast.

We all very much enjoyed an excuse to hang out, dress up (or down, really), and eat food from our gardens.

The Feast

(About 95% of the food/ingredients were grown and raised within 1/2 a mile of where we ate it)

  • Roasted potatoes with green peppers – ingredients from Camp Celo Garden and home garden
  • Spicey Green Salad with plum tomatoes – ingredients from above gardens
  • Pesto and Ricotta sauce – ingredients from same gardens as above (including the goat milk used to make the ricotta)
  • Butternut Squash – from family garden
  • Fresh homemade bread
  • Apple Tart – Apples from tree outside Falcon House (AMS boarding house)
  • Beef Stew – meat from Camp Celo, veggies from AMS garden
  • Mashed Potatoes – AMS potatoes and garlic
  • Roasted Corn – AMS garden
  • Roasted potatoes with herbs – ingredients from AMS garden
  • Chicken and vegetable soup – local chickens (one raised and processed at AMS), veggies from AMS garden, chicken stock made from AMS chicken bones including AMS turkey feet.
  • Broiled skin from above mentioned chickens
  • Savory Corn Pudding – corn from AMS garden, milk from Camp Celo cow.
  • Couscous with local veggies
  • Peaches- from the Galton’s tree
  • Apples – all over the ground and trees

Recipe: Chicken Soup

I did not follow a specific recipe, so I do not have exact measurements, but that seemed pretty Paleo to me. So here is my estimated recipe.

  • Meat from 3 Chickens (all local, one raised and slaughtered here at AMS)
  • 1.5 gallons of chicken broth (made from local chicken bones and turkey feet that I processed myself)
  • 6 onions (from AMS garden), chopped and sauteed in 1/3 cup butter
  • 5 cups of sliced carrots from the AMS garden
  • 5 cups of diced potatoes from the AMS garden
  • 2 cups of diced winter squash from the AMS garden
  • 1 head of garlic (from AMS garden), minced
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary (from AMS garden)
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sage

I sauteed the onions in the butter and then added the broth, vegetables, garlic, and seasonings. This was cooked over the open fire (as seen in the pictures) until veggies were soft and yummy. It had a really neat deep smokey flavor, and was a big hit. Good thing there was lots! Two pots full!

The Tribe

Ronna, Nick, Silas, Cortez, Jason, Krista, Sadie, Gavin, Tal, Micah, Isaac, Bogy, Irene, Bethany, Tree, Ethan, Iris, Lily, Paige, Pete, Lauren, Molly, Gressa, Sue, Wren, Leif, Rick, Sam, Zack, Elena, Anjali, Langston (aka The Bear-Goat), Mitchell, Liarucha, Peter A., Daniel, Tessa, Ariel, Anna, Keely, Emma, Tevis, Reginn, Isaac A., Aristide


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32 Comments on "Grokfeast in Burnsville, North Carolina"

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Kris
Kris
5 years 11 months ago

North Carolina – home of the Grokfeast? This makes 3 entries from the Tarheel state!

Another thing that’s interesting about these entries is all the little windows into these people’s very different lives. Never had any idea a school like this existed!

Alex
Alex
5 years 11 months ago

These guys get bonus points for how much local food they used.

Family Grokumentarian
5 years 11 months ago

This is so cool!! Wish that there were more schools out there like this. Looks like they were having a blast!

Funkadelic Flash
Funkadelic Flash
5 years 11 months ago

Old-school rotisserie. Very cool, guys!

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

So awesome. I wish I could have gone to school there!

noah216
noah216
5 years 11 months ago

lucky kids

Ryan
Ryan
5 years 11 months ago

I love how local everything was!

Ron
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, looks like you all had a great time playing those Primal and making (and eating) all that great food. I hope you guys win the cow!

Robert
5 years 11 months ago

Outstanding work guys, well done.

Paul
Paul
5 years 11 months ago

I’m not sure about all that potato, corn, bread and cous cous tho.

Ronna
5 years 11 months ago

The bread and cous cous were brought by a vegan family who was unfamiliar with Primal eating prior to our Grokfeast. The rest of the food was prepared from what we could hunt and gather ourselves in authentic Grok style.

Patty
5 years 11 months ago

The Zoogle game looks really fun! Great job using so much food from you own gardens and only spending $12 for food you didn’t grow or raise!! And that’s a really beautiful picture of the food too.

JCB
JCB
5 years 11 months ago

We lived just down the road from the Arthur Morgan School at one time and I think it is a seriously cool place. If I had had kids, they would have definitely gone there.

christie
christie
5 years 11 months ago

Great job. Looks like a fabulous place to get an education.

Whitney
5 years 11 months ago

I wish I had a big vat of that soup last week when I had a cold…

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

Wow, great Grokfeast at what appears to be a great school!

Larry
Larry
5 years 11 months ago

Just finished watching the videos. Can you supply the info on the Zoogle stick? I think I need to make one for my family!

Fatkid
5 years 11 months ago

sounds like a very interesting school

Mark
Mark
5 years 11 months ago

Butcher the chicken on site, that’s primal!

Maria
Maria
5 years 11 months ago

This chickens look incredible mouth-watering. I’m jealous of the kids who get to do to this school! Very nice job keeping it local 🙂

Maria
Maria
5 years 11 months ago

*Those chickens, *incredibly

Audry
Audry
5 years 11 months ago

I love the chickens roasting over the fire. We actually thought about doing that for our grokfeast! but couldn’t figure out how to make it work without buying anything. great job

Cindy Hanna
5 years 11 months ago

What a great school! Some lucky kids!

gilliebean
5 years 11 months ago

What a *cool* school!! Seriously!! When I have kids I hope there’s one nearby like yours!

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

if not, you can start one 😉

carol
carol
5 years 11 months ago

Nice job on keeping it local. Impressive.

Peggy
Peggy
5 years 11 months ago

How school should be – learning real skills that can be taken anywhere in the future. Encouraging to see someone in the next generation learning things I still need to learn! The Zoogle game sounds like the battle with Monty Python’s Black Knight 😀

Debra
Debra
5 years 11 months ago

Excellent event! Very impressive.

David Zinn
David Zinn
5 years 11 months ago

My vote for the Grokfeast contest is for the Arthur Morgan School, Burnsville, N.C.

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 11 months ago

Loved how everyone got into the spirit of the party with their clothing, or lack of it. High fashion it ain’t but looked fun and creative.

Chris Chanlett
5 years 11 months ago

Arthur MOrgan School, still standing and growing for almost 50 years. unchangably primal, chris chanlett

Susan Larson
Susan Larson
5 years 11 months ago

I’m on the board of Arthur Morgan School. In July of 2012 the school will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding. It is an amazing place.

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