Winlaw Elementary School, Winlaw, BC
2017-2018 (Year 2)
Winlaw is a small town in the middle of the Slocan Valley in B.C.’s West Kootenay region. As part of our Farm to School program, we have had our school garden for two years. This fall, we were excited to see what grew over the summer. We planted for bees and borscht. Unfortunately, the flowers were dry and the bees were few; the vegetables were many in number but small in size. We had to buy supplemental ingredients for our local borscht makers to make two huge pots of borscht. The soup was served to all students on the same day as our farm tour. On September 15, students from Grades 1 to 6 participated in tour of three local farms: Crooked Horn Farm (grows organic vegetables for markets), Good Food for Good People is a mixed farm with vegetables, cattle, chickens and eggs, Hummingbird Farm grows cut flowers and many different tomatoes for processing. The forth stop on the tour was the borscht from the vegetables the students had grown and harvested in our own garden.
Our community partner: West Kootenay Permaculture Co-op/Kootenay Food provided other culinary experiences for all students at our school. They came to our school with all supplies to make sauerkraut and sausages. We bought locally made perogies and ate an exceptional hot lunch with all involved.
Our Farm to School coordinator, Marilyne Taylor, did a great job all year in prepping local vegetables for the salad bar served with our PAC’s hot lunch every Wednesday. Marilyne also helped to plant microgreens in a classroom to ensure fresh food throughout the winter. The students were engaged in growing, harvesting, serving and eating the microgreens. This spring arrangements were made for a CSA box with Crooked Horn Farm. Every week we will pick up a box of vegetables for the students to prepare for the salad bar.
Other plans for next year include another farm tour, a better composting system (our garden soil needs help) and more student involvement in prepping foods for the salad bar. As a local commercial kitchen has been built within walking distance of our school, we plan to prepare food there with support from our Kootenay Food partners. Exploring wild harvesting from the many forests around us is part of the plan.
We are pleased with our Farm to School program and the support we receive from our community. A local farmer (Wayne Savnikoff) and our local government (Regional District of Central Kootenay) have each donated $500.00 for the purchase of local food for the program. This ensures our capacity to fill the salad bar weekly and continued fulfillment of Farm to School goals.