St. Bonaventure's College, NL.

St. Bonaventure’s College won the grant for:
Engaging students in growing, cooking or preserving local foods at school.
A value of $1500.

Their Farm to School Month Story:
St. Bonaventure's College, NL.
St. Bonaventure’s College, NL.

Thanksgiving is a time of year that brings family and friends together. It knits a community, however loosely, to a sense of the season. And nothing speaks to the autumn season like the harvest.

In St. John’s Newfoundland, Thanksgiving marks the close of the harvest season gluttony. The last of the summers cherry tomatoes, only so recently finding their place on the shelves. The last ears of corn. People are beginning to remember that people have lived here, and lived well on what the land and sea could produce here. We are beginning to see school and community gardens, if not proliferate then become normalized. Small farmers are finding a venue at farmer’s markets. There’s a sense that food here has value, not just monetary but also in nutritional content, in the ties that bind us to place; to community.

At St. Bonaventure’s College we are embarking on our third year with a Farm to Cafeteria Canada salad bar program in partnership with Lester’s Farm Market and Chartwell’s. However, for Thanksgiving this year the school ran the salad bar service with local Lester’s Farm Market produce the starring attraction.

In THINKlocal@school we wanted our students to taste the season, the cornucopia of plenty before the autumn winds and rains give way to snows, sleets and storms. So it was that we arrived at Lester’s Farm Market two days before the long weekend to purchase our produce with a long list- local apples and corn, cherry tomatoes and broccoli, beans and zucchini squash (a late summer/fall fruit here), carrot soup with local artisanal Georgetown Bakery bread to scoop out the delicious remnants. A team of volunteers, from teachers preparing soup to parents chopping vegetables to students lugging the salad bar out from the resource room and down a narrow corridor, helped shape the event.

The school community responded in kind. A third of the school participated in the salad bar service, from students grades Kindergarten right through to Twelve, alongside teachers and administrators. EATlocal@school for the St. Bonaventure’s College Thanksgiving service was about acknowledging who grew our food. The smiles of students enjoying a fruit and vegetable rainbow, however ephemeral in St. John’s, Newfoundland Labrador spoke to the joy local produce can bring.It was about savouring the flavours, being nourished by this place and the friends and family surrounding us. This, after all, is what Thanksgiving is about.

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