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Chef Lancers Lead the Way with a Lean Green Gardening Machine!

Cardinal Leger Secondary School
Cardinal Leger Secondary School, Brampton ON
2017-2018 (Year 2)

Three inspiring chefs working together on a massive task is usually a recipe for a disaster. Here at Cardinal Leger the only recipe was WORKING WELL AS A COMMUNITY! This year Cardinal Leger’s Hospitality program was faced with a massive task. The three Chefs/Teachers found out last minute that, because of a staffing change, they were in charge of taking over a farm to table grant.  After endless meetings and great preparation there was a stronger understanding of what needed to be done and a plan than came into place.

Once a week, usually on Wednesdays, was our salad bar day. Students were given ingredients from our school cafeteria and with that created an amazing menu. Not only were the students learning to create healthy meals, they were also learning how to manufacture meals in different ways to make it more fun! Students at Cardinal Leger really took it to the next level. Menu items such as fresh soup, grilled chicken wraps and beef burritos were some examples of the culinary masterpieces that the Leger Chefs came up with. The teachers really loved having the fresh soup, probably because we are all old and boring!  The students loved building their own chicken wraps and beef burritos. The students said it reminded them of subway or pita pit but better!

Another task that is required for the grant is making homemade hot sauce.  As a group we decided the best approach would be to build a garden bed and grow fresh vegetables and peppers. Thanks to the construction teacher at Leger and his students, they built the school a garden bed. The hospitality class was put to work right away to create a garden masterpiece! Grade twelve student Abigail Oppong had something very powerful to say, “Not only did I learn that growing your own food saves you money but its tastes better too”! She loved the fresh food. Below are pictures of our garden! 

Then to top it all off…………….introducing the Nutri Tower! This unit was purchased a few years ago from a former teacher at the school. The purpose of this unit is that it is a 365 day a year garden with special lighting features and timed water sequences.  We thought this would be such a cool tool to use for our farm to cafe grant. The unit has been restored and we look forward to using it next year for our salad bars and hot sauce.              

Thanks to everyone who read our story! If you have any questions we would love to hear from you!

THE LEGER TEAM

Cardinal Leger Secondary School is located in Brampton, Ontario (75 Mary St. L6W 3K5 – 20 min away from Toronto) and has an enrollment of approximately 1100 students.


2016-2017 (Year 1)
Hospitality Teacher

Bringing the Farm to our Cafeteria at Cardinal Leger Secondary School began when Ecosource helped us make a connection with a local farmer, Shannon Lee Stirling, from Albion Hills Community Farm. Shannon’s enthusiasm for sustainable practices inspired students to be a part of the Farm to Cafeteria movement and they enjoyed her visit when she personally delivered the last of her harvest bringing us beautiful fresh kale, beets, turnip and carrot. We used these vegetables for our first Farm to Caf salad bar and with the help of our partnership with Pina Foods (our school caterer) we added local tomato and potato to the menu.

Because of the wonderful support of Pina Foods, we had a very successful year and served nine taco salad bar lunches where students would fill a taco bowl made with a whole grain tortilla with fresh local vegetables. In support of Farm to Caf we utilized our relationship with Ecosource and visited Iceland, teaching garden numerous times and during their Harvest Celebration our hospitality class acted as local food ambassadors.

Our hospitality program has a local TV show called CHC and we had two episodes dedicated to Farm to Caf, one with Shannon from Albion Hills and one with Coreen Jones from Ecosource.

We culminated the year by having the leadership class host an initiative called “Guess the song for your salad” and we gave away 25 free salads to some very excited students. Here at Cardinal Leger, students who cannot afford lunch are given tickets that are redeemable in the cafeteria for whatever they would like to purchase. I think it is worth noting that we received more than one ticket to purchase a salad during every single salad bar service.

We look forward to the continued success of local salad bar service and increasing food literacy in the 2017-2018 school year.

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