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Experiencing salad bar through the lens of a parent volunteer

Tahayghen Elementary, Masset BC
Tahayghen Elementary, Masset BC
2018-2019 (Grant Year 1)
Tahayghen Elementary School is one of 5 in on Haida Gwaii that have embraced Local Food to School through Salad Bars. Thank you to School Principal, Verena Gibbs, for sharing this story from a parent volunteer:

I remember walking into the PAC meeting — so  much PAC business happening — I ended up striding in right when the “Salad Bar” agenda item came up.  I pitched the idea of PAC paying $1000 for 10 salad bars: for us to purchase, prepare and serve all 10 ourselves. Within 3 minutes of introducing the idea we had a unanimous vote—everyone was into it!  Over the next 10 weeks, parents showed up 1-2 hours before the end of school of the school day to help wash, chop and prepare our simple, local salad bar.  We focused on all veggies available that are grown on Haida Gwaii.  We served local cucumbers, mini tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and kale from the school garden.  And we wondered, would the kids eat it?  Wow did they eat it!  Over 50 lbs of fresh local produce fueled our students over the fall.  Everyone’s plate was colourful and unique to their taste buds.  But what stood out to me this year were the smaller helpers in the kitchen.  Each week we would have 1-3 students join us in preparing the salad bar or dips, and that was when an extra special aspect of food connection happened.  Each week a new student would come in and chop, wash, peel or blend a delicious veggie dip and they would, inevitably, try a new food.  Whether it was to see if our dip needed a bit more salt, garlic or lemon, or if it was a child testing the shape and size of a veggie cut—kids who helped were more engaged and encouraging of the salad bar when compared with kids who did not help that week.   I remember one week, when two students in particular stood out: their teacher admitted that the two boys had been fighting in class that day.  Both were sent to help with salad bar preparation and they worked as a team to get the veggies chopped and dip made.  It confirmed my feeling that food has the capacity to heal.  

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