Lincoln Academy International students preparing Russian food in the FARMS Community Kitchen. (from left): Anton Kalmysh ‘16 of Russia, Alejandro Ramos ‘16 of Spain, Thanh Nguyen '16 of Vietnam, Kristyna Skyvova ‘15 from the Czech Republic, and Simay Tanriover '16 of Turkey. Photo by LA Student Martin Kucera ‘15 of the Czech Republic.

Lincoln Academy International students preparing Russian food in the FARMS Community Kitchen. (from left): Anton Kalmysh ‘16 of Russia, Alejandro Ramos ‘16 of Spain, Thanh Nguyen ’16 of Vietnam, Kristyna Skyvova ‘15 from the Czech Republic, and Simay Tanriover ’16 of Turkey. Photo by LA Student Martin Kucera ‘15 of the Czech Republic.

What do you get when you bring Lincoln Academy international students into the FARMS Community Kitchen? International recipes made with local Maine ingredients, shared by teens from around the world.

There is no better place than a kitchen to share the richness of cultural diversity. With this in mind, the FARMS Community Kitchen has initiated LA Cooks!, a partnership with the Lincoln Academy residential program. During sessions of LA Cooks!, which take place after school, LA international students work with FARMS volunteers to bring a taste of home–whether that home is St. Petersburg, Kiev, Istanbul, or Hanoi–to the Maine winter.

The first featured country was Russia. Thirteen LA residential students participated in the Russian-themed cooking activity on Tuesday, January 6. Recipes included Carrot Pie, Beet Salad, and Russian Coffee Cake. While the students prepared food and learned a little about Russian cuisine they listened to Russian music and discussed plans for future classes.

During the second week’s program participants, including two day students from LA and a student from Medomak Valley High School, brought to life the tastes and smells of the Ukraine. Native Ukrainian and LA senior Karolina Kirzhaner shared some of her favorite recipes including Ukrainian borscht, Ukrainian varenyky with onion butter (pierogies) and a sour cream poppy seed cake.

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Lincoln Academy International Students Dung Nguyen ’16 of Vietnam, Amy Tran ‘17 of Vietnam, Hana Hirano ‘17 of Japan, and Linh Nguyen ’17 of Vietnam prepare Russian coffee cake. Photo by Martin Kucera ‘15.

Upcoming classes will feature food from Vietnam and Turkey. Native students from these countries will serve as guides, working with FARMS volunteers to prepare and, of course, eat familiar foods.

FARMS Founder Karen Kleinkopf has been planning the classes and working with the students. She says, “In addition to learning about each country’s food traditions, during the four weeks students are learning basic food safety, chopping, mixing, sautéing and, above all, healthy eating and the joy of sharing good food together!”

Located above Rising Tide, FARMS offers a unique kitchen facility with ample classroom and meeting space, dedicated to providing a hands-on experience for both children and adults to learn how to cook local vegetables, grains and other healthy foods. For more information about FARMS, visit their web site at www.mefarms.org or find F.A.R.M.S. on Facebook.

Ken Stevenson, Lincoln Academy’s Director of Resident Life, is excited about the collaboration between LA and FARMS. “This has proven to be a fantastic opportunity for kids to try foods from all over the world and they are having a really good time doing it. Hopefully this is the first of many steps in bringing international students into the community to celebrate the cultural richness and diversity that is now a part of Lincoln Academy.”