Amy Ouchterlony, Farmer & Co-owner of Fiddle Foot Farm in Mulmur Township, has been supplying vegetables to the Farm to School: Canada Digs In! Salad Bar Program since its beginning.
The farm, run by Amy and her partner, has been in business since 2011. For most of that time, they have been supplying nutritious and delicious produce to Primrose Elementary School in Mulmur.
Before Primrose had even been awarded the grant to run a Farm to School Salad Bar Program, Amy was working with Primrose, not only as a supplier providing local produce for the school’s laudable Local Food Club, but also as an in-class educator—supporting local food education—with the Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance (HFFA)’s farmer workshops.
Now, Amy’s son is in kindergarten at Primrose, so she hopes to volunteer as a parent too!
Fiddle Foot Farm is a biodynamic farm that grows 5.5 acres of vegetables for a CSA, market garden and wholesale customers. They also raise livestock including cows, pastured chickens and pastured pigs. Their website states they are “seeking to connect with conscientious consumers looking to help develop strong local economies and who recognize that healthy soils nourish healthy communities.” You can find Fiddle Foot Farm at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market and the Evergreen Brickworks Market in Toronto.
Read our #FarmtoSchoolMonth Q&A with Amy below:
What food does Fiddle Foot Farm provide for Primrose’s Salad Bar?
We provide the salad bar with the salad greens, spinach, carrots, beets, radishes, like watermelon radishes that the kids love, and other colourful vegetables, like candy cane striped beets that the kids also have fun with. Some weeks we’ve provided celeriac and cabbage too.
We’re able to offer a diversity of produce since we grow for markets and a CSA. The school likes working with us too because we have a lot of vegetables through the winter.
What motivates you? Why is it important to work with schools?
Where do I start!? I’m passionate about getting good food to kids. You see some of the processed food that kids are eating, full of sugar and salt, and I want as many kids as possible to know what food looks like in its original form, and what it tastes like when it’s good quality, fresh and organically grown.
I think the salad bar program is doing a really great job of that. I was at the school once on salad bar day and saw the kids all really excited to come down the hall and get their salad. It was like they were part of something special, like a fun inner club. Sometimes healthy food can be viewed as boring, but these kids were excited. The salad bar team does an incredible job with the different recipes, and displaying it all nicely for the kids. They had a bicycle blender for making smoothies too – they’re making healthy food really fun for kids!
What has been most rewarding?
To see the students excited, to see them eating healthy food and wanting more of it. I’ve been told they even want seconds, that they’ve had to ration things like radishes some days!
I was at the school doing an in-class farmer workshop for the HFFA on one of the salad days, wearing my farmer outfit, and saw some of our food on the table, so it was really fun.
What has been most challenging?
Maybe just working with the scale of smaller orders for the salad bar versus some of our larger wholesale orders – I hope the program can take off on a larger scale, to feed more schools and more students. It’d be great if more schools caught on, and if more kids took part at each school!
I want to congratulate all the organizers for what they’ve done to make this happen. I have a lot of respect for people who choose to take on something like this and carry it through each time. And I have gratitude for the people in my community wanting to do this work and respect for their commitment to local food in schools and making it delicious for kids!