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Evergreen Independent School
Evergreen Independent School, Cobblehill, BC
2017-2018 (Year 2)

Evergreen Independent School is located in Cobble Hill, BC, a small semi-rural community in the lush Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Home to 100 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 7, Evergreen has a flourishing food literacy program that has recently been enhanced by the Farm to School grant received last year.

The Farm to School grant helps to scale up existing food skills, gardening, and food literacy programming. For many years, there has been a lunch program in the senior grades, where groups of students plan, prepare, cook, serve and enjoy freshly made meals. There is also a primary baking program for grades K-2 where students learn to bake gluten-free bread, buns, cookies, and muffins. Evergreen also enjoys whole-school soup days in the fall and spring. Our Horticulture Program reinforces hands-on learning in our school garden, especially for those with special needs. Evergreen has been a long time proponent of child-centered, hands-on learning and there is considerable support among parents for healthy choices.

With this new grant, our school has been able to enhance the lunch program by sourcing and serving more locally grown food, expanding the options of what can be on the menu, and making stronger connections to our local farming community. The Cowichan Valley attracts many small-scale family farms, allowing us to purchase most of our food from local farmers, and also to use what we grow in our own garden!

One of the main aspects of the curriculum at Evergreen is integrated experiential learning. We use “theme teaching” – monthly themes are selected by children/teachers and are integrated into different subjects. For the past several years, the students have had the opportunity to be mentored by Marisa Goodwin, volunteer parent, gourmet chef, and owner of Organic Fair, an organic food company that contributes ingredients from their local farm to the program.  Together, the students chose and planned menus that reflected school themes. This year the menu featured luncheons with asparagus salads and green salads made with kale, nettles and chives from the school garden.   West coast themed sushi have also been served with peppers, asparagus and cucumbers from local farms and greenhouses.

We were thrilled to renovate our kitchen last year with donations from local families! Our new equipment to support Farm to School will now fit in our cupboards and be easier for students to manage and keep tidy. Our new blender is a wonderful addition and has made salad dressing making a snap!

Our students are learning more about local food systems and there have been field trips to community farms and food forests to learn about what grows in what seasons, and to understand why it is important to our local economy to support our farmers as much as we can. Students also learn a lot through our school garden that has been expanded thanks to this Farm to School grant! Our Horticulture coordinator ensures all the kids get dirty in the garden and help with everything from tending the soil to planting, harvesting and composting.

Evergreen students and families have benefitted from this Farm to School grant by a deepening understanding of where their food comes from and the importance of planning meals around what is local, fresh and healthy. Local partnerships, local food and local smiles – Evergreen students, families and staff will continue to grow collaborative community connections in the years to come!


2016-2017 (Year 1)

Evergreen Independent School – Food Literacy in the Cowichan Valley

Garden ElissaHanna_Evergreen
Elissa and Hanna in the garden, Evergreen Independent School, Cobble Hill, BC

Evergreen Independent School is located in Cobble Hill, BC, a small semi-rural community in the lush Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. Home to 100 students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 7, Evergreen has a flourishing food literacy program that has recently been enhanced by the Farm to School grant received last year.

The Farm to School grant helps to scale up existing food skills, gardening and food literacy programming. For many years, there has been a lunch program in the senior grades, where groups of students plan, prepare, cook, serve and enjoy freshly made meals. There is also a primary baking program for grades K-2 where students learn to bake gluten-free bread, buns, cookies and muffins. Evergreen also enjoys whole-school soup days in the fall and spring. Our Horticulture Program reinforces hands-on learning in our school garden, especially for those with special needs. Evergreen has been a long time proponent of child-centered, hands on learning and there is considerable support among parents for healthy choices. With this new grant, our school has been able to enhance the lunch program by sourcing and serving more locally grown food, expanding the options of what can be on the menu, and making stronger connections to our local farming community. The Cowichan Valley attracts many small scale family farms, allowing us to purchase most of our food from local farmers, and also to use what we grow in our own garden!

One of the main aspects of the curriculum at Evergreen is integrated, experiential learning. We use “theme teaching” – monthly themes are selected by children/teachers and are integrated into different subjects (for example, Ancient Greece). Last year, students worked with volunteer helpers to choose and plan menus that reflected these themes. Lentil soup, kale salad, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy and walnut cake are some examples of the delicious offerings enjoyed by students, staff and volunteers last year!

We were thrilled to renovate our kitchen last year with donations from local families! Our new equipment to support Farm to School will now fit in our cupboards and be easier for students to manage and keep tidy. Our new blender is a wonderful addition that will make smoothie days a snap!

Our students are learning more about local food systems and there are plans for field trips to community farms to learn about what grows in what seasons, and to understand why it is important to our local economy to support our farmers as much as we can. Students also learn a lot through our school garden that has been expanded thanks to this Farm to School grant! Our Horticulture coordinator ensures all the kids get dirty in the garden and help with everything from tending the soil to planting, harvesting and composting.

Evergreen students and families have benefitted from this Farm to School grant by a deepening understanding of where their food comes from and the importance of planning meals around what is local, fresh and healthy. Local partnerships, local food and local smiles – Evergreen students, families and staff get to enjoy so much more goodness planned in the years to come!

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