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From Farm to Table, and back again – in 100 steps!

Sir Guy Carleton Secondary, Ottawa, ON
Sir Guy Carleton Secondary, Ottawa, ON
2018-2019 (Grant Year 1)
Year one of our Farm to School salad bar adventure has come to a close, and what a phenomenal year it has been.

By joining this amazing initiative, we have been able to take our existing foods and green industries programs and expand both to bring new, healthy options to our students here at Sir Guy Carleton SS.  Planning started early with your Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) students from both our Advanced Culinary Education (ACE) and Urban Farming Operations (UFO) meeting to discuss the potential that the school has to offer in terms of celebrating farm to fork.  Students worked together to discuss the needs of the kitchen, along with unique constraints that come along with farming in an urban environment.  

We have added a new salad bar servery to our existing set-up which, not only facilitates the delivery of our salad bar, but also helps with service of our breakfast program.  A win-win for everyone! One of the major highlights has been the creativity and leadership shown by our Kitchen Manager, Brad Larabie. A long-time member of our school community, Brad is a former student who has returned as a teacher after receiving culinary training at Algonquin College.   He is dedicated to bringing as many locally-sourced, whole foods to our students as possible has pushed the boundaries of our students’ palates. Not only does he prepare amazing food for the school, he also works closely with our students, imparting upon them his culinary knowledge and skills.  

Also thanks to Farm to Cafeteria Canada,  we have been able to diversify our growing capabilities here at the school.  We have an existing aquaponic system that produces 400 heads of lettuce at a time.  We also have an existing outdoor garden for vegetables such as potatoes and onions. This year we have added three new Tower Gardens and created a new 32 raised bed soil garden to increase our production for service in the cafeteria.  One of our major goals is to grow as much food for our students as possible.  

The biggest achievement this year was our inaugural salad bar on November 21.  On a week where lettuce was being recalled across North America, due to E Coli, we served at least 115 plates of salad bar, free of charge, to our school using lettuce grown in our aquaponic and hydroponic systems.  This was an amazing experience to see kids lined up out the cafeteria to eat vegetables grown in-house and sourced locally. 

With year one under our belt we are so excited to move forward.  Hopefully with a good harvest, and a food program dedicated to healthy salad options, we will ensure our students have a quality vegetable options to choose from almost everyday.  Our goal for next year is to establish a supply relationship with local farmers to diversify the foods that are served in our cafeteria.  

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