Mile 108 Elementary School, 108 Mile Ranch, BC
2017-2018 (Year 2)
Mile 108 Elementary is a medium-sized elementary school in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. We have about 200 students at our school from grades K-7. We received the F2S grant 2 years ago and we are thrilled with where our school has gone with it since then. We’ve used the funds to create a ‘hot lunch’ program with a salad bar every Wednesday, a breakfast program offered to our students 5 days/week, and created a food program for our high needs kids on days when they aren’t able to bring enough food to school to support their learning. We’ve also created a school garden, classroom gardens, and began a small (but mighty!) composting program. We feel truly lucky to have the grant support our students and their learning in such powerful ways.
Our program is run by Nancy Lunquist, who has been a tireless advocate of healthy meals for kids at our school. Nancy is here at the school almost every day prepping and plating food. She has been able to inspire so many people with her work and advocacy that she has oodles of volunteers from our students to adults alike. Nancy has become part of the fabric of our school and has made our food programs an integral part of our student’s learning. Her impact on the culture and climate of our school is simply amazing.
As principal of the school, a goal for me this year was to focus more on the social / emotional learning of our students. I have been particularly interested in self-regulation. I had been wondering what we can put into place for our kids so they feel ready to learn. With the start of our breakfast program and the growth of our hot lunch program, we’ve seen the impact a proper, healthy meal can make on regulation and learning. Our kids began each morning with a full stomach. They have had a wonderful chance to enjoy breakfast with each other in the gym at their tables while they ate. When the food and the social time can combine, it gets kids ready to learn. Students can settle into the day and engage.
We have been able to make real change at our school through the F2S grant. We are extremely grateful for being part of the Farm 2 School program. We look forward to working with F2S in the years to come and to continue building on the great programs we’ve been able to put into place.
2016-2017 (Year 1)
Mile 108 Elementary School has been running a Hot Lunch program for several years. Led by our enthusiastic coordinator, Roxanne Sutton, we applied for and received the Farm to Cafeteria Salad Bar Grant. It has long been our dream to bring more to our lunch program, including introducing our students to gardening, composting and food education. We are extremely grateful to receive funding from this grant in order to deliver these programs to our kids and to provide a full salad bar service.
One of the first items we wanted to rectify was our use of paper plates and disposable spoons/forks. To reduce our waste, we purchased plates, bowls and silverware—our students had no problems with the changeover, they actually welcomed it (This was the seen result when they started serving themselves, too). Of course, with the introduction of ‘real’ dishes which require washing them all we invested in an industrial dishwasher. This has been a great asset to our kitchen; we not only use the dishes and dishwasher for our Hot Lunch program, we are able to extend the use to our Pizza Days as well.
In the fall of 2016 we introduced our students to composting—compost pails were placed into each classroom; students were taught what can and cannot go into them, then weekly student volunteers empty these pails in to our outdoor composters. Along this path, May Forbes from CRD, Williams Lake, was invited to give presentations about ‘worm composting’ to our primary (K-3) classes. After her visit, Forbes left one worm-composting box to be rotated among the classrooms to practice what they has learned.
This spring we are working on the ‘growing’ aspect of our F2S schedule. We are in the process of planning to build three raised garden beds out in our school yard. Local businesses have been huge supporters in this endeavor. Sitka Log Homes has donated ½ logs for the garden bed structures, Spring Lake Ranch, which makes compost/peat soil, will be our distributer for our soil, and seeds and plant are being purchased from 108 Mile Supermarket (Our Local grocer has been an incredible partner to our salad bar service program—all foodstuff comes from them, including our local and provincial products needed for our Wednesday menus). We are expecting to grow lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and radishes this year. Through this project, the students will participate in weeding, watering and harvesting when the time arrives; our goal is to use our harvest in our Hot Lunch.
Mile 108 Elementary School has an amazing group of parent and student volunteers who help prep, serve and clean-up. This has been a great educating process for all teachers, students and parents—not only teaching nutrition can taste good, it teaches portion sizes and responsibility. Plus, it is wonderful to see the pride they take when involved in our F2S program.