From St John’s Newfoundland to Masset British Columbia more than 3000 Canadian children picked up their hoes, rolling pins, and forks to celebrate and partake in the nation’s first Farm to School month campaign. Whether kids were harvesting potatoes from the school garden, carving pumpkins in the classroom, making pizza in the kitchen, or wiggling in line for a full farm to school lunch – it was clear from the stories and photos that there was a whole lot of celebrating going on!
Sislers High School in Winnipeg Manitoba was the first school to send their Farm to School Month celebration photos and story to the Farm to Cafeteria Canada office.
“We spent Farm to School month cooking and preserving local ingredients, prepping for seasonal eating, harvesting and looking after the school’s successful summer garden” says Lauren Sawchuk, a teacher at Sisler High School.
Project Chef Education Society sent in one of the final photos and stories.
During the Farm to School month, Project CHEF held teacher meetings to teach the teachers about integrating food education through the curricula. “ In our 2014 – 2015 school term we will be teaching 64 classes of children about good food: where it comes from, what it tastes like, how to prepare it themselves and how to share it around a table”, says Barb Finley, creator of Project Chef. “In two weeks, 4 classes (120 children) from Vancouver School Board participated in Project Chef and created delicious meals with food sourced from our BC local farmers”, says Finley.
The full set of photos can be viewed on the Farm to cafeteria Canada website in the photo gallery.
“The month long campaign in October had a tremendous and unexpected ripple effect,” said Eva Negley, Communications Lead, Farm to Cafeteria Canada. In addition to the volume of emails received in the national Farm to Cafeteria Canada office, our Twitter and Facebook sites were abuzz with posts.
In New Brunswick an announcement was made about a 2.4 million dollar investment to create healthier school environments for Canadian Children.
“A significant portion of that funding will support new farm to School programs and processes in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, says Joanne Bays, National Manager of Farm to Cafeteria Canada. “This represents one of the largest national investments in school nutrition – ever”, says Bays.
In Ontario, The Good Food Connection program was also announced during Farm to School month. This initiative championed by the Victoria Order of Nurses Ontario Student Nutrition Program, will see more fresh Ontario fruits and veggies purchased and delivered to as many as 340 schools in South Western Ontario.
“More local farmers will have viable markets to sell their products and thousands of students across Southwestern Ontario will benefit from eating and learning about local food while in the classroom. Good things are growing in Ontario!” says Stephanie Seagave, Ontario Student Nutrition Program Manager, VON Canada.
Farm to School month wrapped up with a draw for a $1000 Farm to School grant! The recipient of the grant was a school in Atlantic Canada – Ecole Notre Dame in Edmondston, New Brunswick. Ecole Notre Dame organized a week-long learning activity in the cafeteria promoting the various types of locally grown squash.
“I was really touched when Patricia Ouellette, the cafeteria’s executive director, told me that she and our cook Josée Boutot wanted to organise a week on the theme of pumpkin and squash to celebrate Farm to School month.
This confirmed to me that they really cared about the success of Farm to School!
In order to recognize them, and because they organized such a beautiful week of activities, I foresee that the $1000 award that we won will be earmarked for them, so that they are able to repeat the experience as often as possible!” says Danny Duquette, Representative, Ecole Notre Dame.
The staff at Farm to Cafeteria Canada wishes to thank Farm to School enthusiasts across Canada who promoted this event and encouraged participation. A special thank you is extended to all of the participants who registered for this year’s first National Farm to School Month campaign
For Further information about Canada’s First Farm to School Month Campaign contact:
Communications Lead, Farm to Cafeteria Canada