Farm to Cafeteria Canada – Grant Report from Forest Grove Elementary – Spring Event
Forest Grove Elementary in Burnaby, BC was the grant recipient of $1,500 from Farm to Cafeteria Canada in 2016 where funds used needed to connect students to local food producers (gardeners, farmers, chefs, bakers or cheese makers etc.)
On June 6, 2017, the first portion of this grant was used to create a Community Lunch for the entire Forest Grove School community. With the help of Sprouting Chefs Society as the Community Partner Organization, Chef Scott Jaeger of the Pear Tree Restaurant, was asked to help with this event to connect the students with a local chef as his restaurant is in Burnaby, BC just a few kilometers away from Forest Grove.
The lunch consisted of a variety of local items Chef Scott had on hand including his preserved pickled veggies, herbs, and fresh peas to make a cold pasta salad. Using the school garden as a guide and source of inspiration, students were also able to harvest a variety of veggies planted in April with the class groups for a salad including kale, seasonal lettuces, and edible flowers. As a special treat, Chef Scott also brought enough freshly made pear puree freezies sweetened with elderberry syrup which he foraged for himself.
Students from the Primary classes were sourced after Sprouting Chefs completed a set of in school cooking classes. Chosen on a variety of merits, students had to demonstrate not only strong cooking skills and abilities but attributes in responsibility, leadership, service and kindness to participate in preparing, serving and cleaning up after the meal.
Chef Scott’s role was to prepare the cold pasta salad and bring it to the school after it was made at his restaurant. He also brought 2 of his young cooks from his restaurant which was a bonus for the students to work with.
Partial funds for this event were used to cover the cost of enough veggies for the pasta salad sourced via the Pear Tree Restaurant.
2nd Community Lunch – Fall 2017 at Forest Grove Elementary
On October 6, 2017, Forest Grove Elementary hosted a second Community Lunch with the funds from the Farm to Cafeteria Canada grant.
For this event, the school partnered with a local farmer, Houweling’s Farms in Delta BC who provided 12 cases of hot house tomatoes and 8 basil plants for a Pasta Lunch. Through the partnership with Sprouting Chefs Society, pasta and olive oil was sourced through a local business, Cioffi’s Deli on Hastings in Burnaby as well as a gift card from Whole Foods for parmesan cheese, garlic, salad greens and gluten free pasta. Some greens and garlic were also harvested from the school’s garden.
Students for this event were sourced after Ms. Barb, from Sprouting Chefs, requested application forms from a large group of students who attended an information session at the school. Due to the previous Community Lunch’s popularity, at least 50 students expressed interest during this info session and 30 students submitted application forms to participate. Students were chosen based on their merits to serve, approval of their teachers and parents to participate and what they were seeking to receive from the experience.
A group of students who attend the After-School Cooking Classes were put to task with the main part of making the tomato sauce after being trained in the classes the week before. Cutting tomatoes and basil, peeling and chopping garlic, and then actually making the tomato sauce were all tasks the students took on themselves. A small group of students also harvested a few root vegetables from the garden and a variety of flowers to decorate the tables.
Serving the lunch and cleaning up after the meal were also tasks groups of students completed. Helping with the serving and cooking of the pasta as well as some clean up was managed by a small group of parents.
Rave reviews came in from the school community about the pasta lunch. Several students had extra helpings of the pasta and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Grant funds covered the cost of compostable disposables for 400, tablecloths and other serving supplies as well as services from Sprouting Chefs Society.