Quinte Secondary School, Belleville, ON
2017-2018 (Year 2)
Quinte Secondary School is located 2 hours west of Toronto Ontario in a city of about 70,000. Our high school is in the center of the city and has about 600 students. We are in our 4th year of “taking back our Café”. We have hired chef Sam McGowan who, with the support of our foods program, involving roughly 100 students in 5 courses, now operates the cafeteria. We also have had 5 cooperative education students working in the café for their placements. This year we utilized the Farms to School Grant to expand upon our networking with local farms. 40 students travelled to Campbell’s Orchard located in Prince Edward County, a short drive away, where we took in the beauty of locally grown produce. Students boarded a hay ride where we travelled around the orchard getting educated on various fruits and vegetables and to process needed to grow and harvest them. Students had the opportunity to pick various items and we returned to the school with many bushels of apples, pumpkins, squash, corn, and tomatoes. Once back at the school students processed these in a variety of way to be used in many recipes. The locally grown produce made a huge difference in many of our favorite recipes such as: roasted tomato and parmesan soup, curry pumpkin soup, carrot pumpkin and apple ginger soup, pumpkin vegetable curry, butternut squash coleslaw, potato and corn chowder soup, corn bread, vegetable spaghetti sauce, to just name a few. Many students had never been to a farm and really enjoyed having the opportunity not only visit the farm but to see how the fruits and vegetables are cared for, harvested and ultimately used to make homemade recipes. A wonderful day had by all and a bonus that it was such a beautiful day. Next….. we plan to utilize our green house to plant, grow, harvest and cook with produce WE have grown, stay tuned…….
2016-2017 (Year 1)
One of Quinte Secondary Schools missions is to promote healthy active living. The research is clear that healthy eating is the key to a healthy life and academic success. With this in mind 4 years ago we began a mission to “Take Back Our Café”. We are now completing our third year of operating the cafeteria from within the school. Our foods program has expanded into a 9 – 12 program, and with the direction of Chef Sam McGowan and the support of various students throughout the school we are growing each year. The Farm to School Grant from Farm to Cafeteria Canada and the Whole Kids Foundation has given us the opportunity to improve and expand in a number of different ways. We are now able to offer a self-serve salad bar that can be partnered with homemade soup and bread daily, and it can be purchased as a side to any of our meal options. As the weather gets nicer we can definitely see an increase in sales.
In February we expanded our focus to include fresh grown vegetables and spices from our greenhouse. Students from our Practical Learning Program and Personal Life Skills Program have planted, cared for, and harvested a number of different items. We have brought home the idea of “local” produce. One of our staff stated “I can’t believe this lettuce is from our greenhouse, this is amazing”. We will be planting our first ever outside summer garden with seeds that have been started within the greenhouse and look forward to our senior students using their newly attained “preserving” skills to make a variety of items in the fall. Our next goal is to develop a composting program to support the gardens in both the greenhouse and outdoor locations.
The Farm to School Grant has given us the financial support to make all of these things possible, but more importantly it has brought the attention of our school community to the importance of local produce and the sense of community it can develop when made a priority. We will continue to expand our relationships with local farms and Businesses to utilize local food items as much as possible.