Farm to School, Farm to School Canada
St Jean de Brebeuf Catholic Secondary School
Hamilton, Ontario
2018-2019 (Grant Year 1)
Our Farm to Cafeteria story started back in 2016 when Chef Luigi Chiarini from St Jean de Brebeuf Catholic Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario was able to take over operation of the school cafeteria and began planning for a cafeteria run by students, serving food prepared by students as part of a Foods and Nutrition and Hospitality and Tourism programs. 

The goal was to create a healthy, vibrant, productive and educational food culture at St. Jean de Brebeuf.  In 2018, in partnership with Hamilton Public Health, we were fortunate to obtain a Farm to Cafeteria grant that has helped us establish a salad bar and begin rejuvenation of our school garden and greenhouse.

Students had been asking for a self-service salad bar since we first began plans to have a school run cafeteria in 2016. The F2S funding has allowed us to offer salad bar to service daily during all lunch periods!  We launched the new salad bar on Nov. 29, 2018 with a school wide event where we handed out sample taco salads at both lunch periods, promoted nutrition awareness and got input from students about what they wanted on the new salad bar. The school administration was very visible along with board superintendents, other staff and our public health champions!  The school Health Action Team helped with the student survey and the students from the Foods and Nutrition, and Hospitality programs prepped and served 500 delicious taco salads!

The salad bar runs daily and has a variety of items including lettuce, other leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale), cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, red onion, okra, snow/sugar/fresh peas, cooked lentils, chickpeas and/or other types of legumes, berries (in season).  We are also starting to offer side salads with other menu options! 

In March 2019, the school joined hundreds of other schools across the country in celebrating Pink Shirt Day and students were treated to strawberry and watermelon fruit kabobs. “During the launch of the new salad bar in November, students expressed that they would like more fruit options in the school-run cafeteria,” said Public Health Nurse Diane Lau. “After much collaboration between the Health Action Team (HAT) and the Foods and Hospitality classes, the idea of distributing “pinkish” fruit kabobs was born.”

“It’s a good way to promote healthy living for the students,” said Grade 11 student Azalea Vega, a member of the school’s Healthy Action Team.

“Work is being done to support students to be healthy and reach their full potential”, said Public Health Nurse, Diane Lau.

“From a mental health perspective, it’s been proven that when you eat better, you feel better,” said Public Health Dietitian Elizabeth Smith. “Aside from the health component, there’s something to be said for coming together and eating as a school community.”

This is the second year the food in the cafeteria has been cooked and served by the school’s hospitality tourism students. Having such an endeavour means the student body has access to quality, fresh-made food while the hospitality students gain life experience and the school shares in the profit, said chef Luigi Chiarini, who heads up the program. “I’d like to see it in all schools,” he said.

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Chef Luigi

Taco salads for launch!

Salad Bar ready to go, November 2018

Salad Bar Launch Group photo

Pinkish kabobs for anti-bullying event March 2019

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