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Farm to School, Farm to School Canada
At Salt Spring Elementary (SSE), we celebrated National Farm-to-School Month with an all-school, community Harvest Lunch. Here’s how it happened.

Farm to School, Farm to School CanadaLast June kindergartners planted turban squash seeds donated by Salt Spring Seeds and over the summer, Camp Collosal participants watered and cared for the Hillside Garden, snacking on what was ripe and harvesting some of the produce for their kids’ cooking class. SSE Students harvested the squash in September to enter in the Fall Fair and then it was kept in a cool garage. The last week of October, we kicked it into high gear for the Halloween Harvest Lunch.

With all the excitement and costumes at school for the holiday, teachers say it’s a good day for active engagement of students like this. Plus, significant research has shown that students introduced to diverse vegetables in school make healthier food choices later in life. Also, spending time growing foods has been shown to increase children’s physical and mental health with added benefits to academic, social, and real-life skills.

The date was set and a sign-up sheet hung in the staff room so that every class signed up for some part of the event. A grant from Island Savings Community Endowment covered some of the event coordination time. The menu was pumpkin (squash) soup, applesauce, and garden-herb biscuits. Chef Wysteria Berkhow created the soup recipe for us. Thirteen volunteer parents signed up to help over the course of the week. We ordered compostable cutlery and bowls, then Salt Spring Kitchen Co. donated hundreds of jars to be used for serving applesauce and Hastings House lent us their giant immersion blender and big pots.

On Monday, one class walked to Chorus Frog Farm to gather extra squashes for the big pumpkin soup. On Tuesday, two classes harvested parsley and herbs from the school gardens, smelled and learned their names and characteristics, and chopped them finely to be baked into the biscuits. Parents brought in bags of apples from their trees. One class made apple fruit leather. Extra squash and pumpkins were sourced from Bon Acres Farm and Thrifty Foods (thank you Thrifty’s!), and on Wednesday, students learned hands-on about the many different varieties and cleaned out the seeds, then later scooped the roasted squashes to prepare for soup. Thursday, volunteer chefs Milly Sinclair and Erin Williams created two ginormous pots of soup. Parent Anna Pugh brought ingredients and worked with parent volunteers helping several classes to bake hundreds of herbed biscuits, and others helped classes make applesauce. The ELF Strongstart program made tiny bouquets to decorate, and other students helped set up the lunch, serve others, and clean up afterwards, composting and washing all the dirty dishware.

At noon, over 200 people enjoyed a beautiful meal outdoors! On top of the 13 volunteers, at least 30 family and community members, including School District administration, attended the sunny lunch, some in costume, with savoury hot soup served under colourful autumn oaks and maples.

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5 hours ago

Today is Family Literacy Day and this year's theme is: Learning in the Great Outdoors 🌱🍓🌳🏵️How perfect! Last fall we celebrated all the ways that farm to school is grounded in land-based learning. We have seen the healthy impacts of outdoor classrooms and we encourage hands-on-learning as part of the school curriculum! bit.ly/34iYnsgHow do YOU learn in the great outdoors?Check out resources and activities with Life Literacy Canada: abclifeliteracy.ca/all-programs/family-literacy-day/@abclifeliteracy #farm2school #landbasedlearning #outdoorclassrooms #handsonlearning ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

It has been 5 years since the launch of the Farm to School Canada Grant program. Incredibly, that program has now afforded more than 53,000 students in 133 schools right across Canada an opportunity to feast on healthy local foods at school.One of most important aspects of the grant program continues to be it's FLEXIBILITY, underpinned by the understanding that a cookie cutter approach to school food is NOT going to work in Canada. To close the distance between children, their food and their land, in this vast country with it’s diverse ecosystems and its multicoloured tapestry of people and food culture, the program needs to meet children, schools, and whole communities where they were at. It also needs to be developed, and driven by the community - the school and the local food system community.Today, if you visit any of these schools you will likely see a whole lot more than a salad bar. School greenhouses, gardens, farms, smoke houses, root cellars, kitchens, and/or dining areas are commonplace in recipient schools. And in these places, often the heartbeat of the school, you will likely see dozens of excited children happily digging in.I suppose this is why I am thrilled to see that F2CC and WKF have put out another call for proposals. Up to $10,000 per school is available. If your school has a vision, partners, and a plan, please send in a proposal. Deadline January 31, 2022. www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/our-work/farm-to-school-grants/ ... See MoreSee Less
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