Forest Park Elementary School, St. Thomas, ON
Total Student Enrollment: 400+
2018-2019 (Grant Year 1)
In 2018, Forest Park Elementary School partnered with Farm to Cafeteria Canada to provide a healthy and free salad bar weekly to all students. In an increasingly diverse socio-economic society, many students come to school without a healthy lunch. At Forest Park Elementary School, we have a very diverse group of students, not all of whom have the luxury of having fresh produce in their lunches every day.
With the grant received, Forest Park started off by purchasing dishes, cutlery, and a dishwasher to reduce waste from paper plates and plastic utensils. These purchases have helped promote a more “eco friendly school”, as we are already engaged in a compost and recycling program.
Then we started serving our salad bar. The salad bar currently runs every Wednesday, providing 100-200 students with a healthy lunch, and teaching the students about local food sources near them! There are a variety of items served including local organic lettuce (Common Ground Farm), and vegetables/fruits from other local farms when they’re in season including cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, beets, pears, and apples. The students have a choice of adding items from other food groups to put in their salad such as hardboiled eggs, chicken, shredded cheese, and croutons with a variety of dressings. This gives every student an opportunity to make their own perfect and favourite salad.
There’s more than just lettuce and vegetables that run our salad bar. Our staff, students, and members of the community are the core of our program’s success! All of these individuals play a part in the process including getting the items needed, food preparation, serving salad, washing dishes, supervising students, and cleanup. Without all of our helping hands, our salad bar wouldn’t be such a huge success!
Working forward, our goal is to get our school garden / hydroponic towers up and running with the help of a horticulture group so that we can grow our own vegetables to offer in the salad bar. This would allow more students to be involved in the process and they could learn hands-on life skills, responsibility, and environmental stewardship.
Thanks to Farm to Cafeteria Canada for supporting Forest Park Elementary School. Our students are benefiting greatly from a healthy lunch option, and look forward to our salad bar every week all because of you!