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You can make friends with Salad

Norkam Senior Secondary School, Kamloops, BC

This year at NorKam Senior Secondary in Kamloops, BC, our cafeteria class started a salad bar for a fresh, healthy addition to our regular lunch service. We began this semester by growing our own vegetables, herbs and microgreens in anticipation of improving our cafeteria’s menu selection, and quality and freshness of food. This project proved to be a fun, healthy option that many students and teachers looked forward to. We learned how to grow plants in our garden and microgreens, how to take care of them, and most importantly, how to prepare them to use in salads and other dishes. We also brought in local food when available or used some of the food from Take a Bite of BC.

On a few several occasions we went on field trips including the Farmers’ Market and local university to experience new flavors and methods of food and learn more about the food industry and where our food is coming from.

Our Foods class went to the Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market in March, we learned how farmers store their crops during the colder seasons. We got to ask lots of questions and try different types of food. One table had vegetables like carrots and cabbage, one man was selling his home smoked beef jerky and had many different flavors to try, and another was selling honey. We all went around to the different tables and bought some of the local food to bring back for the class to use. It was fun to learn the different steps and the process of how local food is grown. Perhaps next year we could go on another field trip like this one.

We also went to visit the Culinary Program at Thompson Rivers University. The chefs in this program were working with developing menus that took used local food, and highlighted the “farm to table” spirit. We got to see how they bring local food in such as meat produced on nearby farms, and preparing them in house.

Every week our class makes a menu with a special of the day, soup, and salad bar. We use our cooking knowledge and divide ourselves into groups to efficiently make our menu within the time that we have.

We also talk about the different products that will attract students to come to the salad bar and how to market it to the students. As a class, we have been able to choose items that we feel best fit the salad bar. To help promote the salad bar we on many days have it come with our daily special. Customers are able to order the special with for example, on May 28, 2017 was a grilled pork chop and roast potatoes, each person was able to come and make their own salad bar, as well as those who just wanted salad bar.

Between all of the programs we are involved in, we have learned a great deal about local Kamloops and BC food. We are involved in many programs at our school including Farm to School BC, Farm to Cafeteria, Take a Bite of BC, and BC’s Fruit and Vegetable Program. Through the support of these programs, we have been able to grow our own microgreens, plant and harvest greens and fruit from our courtyard garden, and prepare BC food from the Take a Bite of BC program. We are learning to ask more questions about our food, such as where does it come from and how it is produced.

We have learned that “you can make friends with salad.”

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