Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, Kitchener, ON
Grant term 2020-2022

It is without a doubt that the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have posed various challenges to the initiation of the KCI Salad Bar. Despite this, sustainability and nutrition education have still remained at the forefront of our program. While we were not able to start the KCI Salad Bar this year, we would like to detail a unique educational experience from our Family Studies, Green Industries and Hospitality courses that melded this project’s objectives together quite harmoniously. 

In late October of this year, our Green Industries/Horticulture department harvested a variety of cucurbita (squash.) 

This included a number of acorn squash and butternut squash. Many of our Family Studies and Hospitality students had never cooked or prepared this type of vegetable before. As such, Green Industries provided us with a formidable selection of gourds to use in the preparation of a squash-centred dish. Our students then created an Indian curry recipe that incorporated the butternut squash. We have linked the recipe created in our French Immersion classes here. Students even created a traditional chapati bread to accompany the dish. Other classes made butternut squash fries and roasted acorn squash. All in all, it was an amazing learning experience for everyone. Furthermore, the students were veritably invested in understanding the squash harvest and overwhelmed with shock that the ingredients utilized were largely sourced from our own gardens and school resources. The Indian curry recipe utilized chickpeas and greek yogurt as its source of protein. This offered a very natural segway into augmenting nutritional literacy about the different types of foods that are sources of protein, other than just meat. Furthermore, utilizing vegetable sources of protein can have a hugely positive impact on our environment by reducing our carbon footprint. 

This learning experience opened up important dialogue in our classroom spaces about how tasty nutritious food can be, how cooking amongst others is such a connective experience and how ingredients can be locally sourced for greater freshness and sustainability. This amongst other experiential learning opportunities at KCI this year, has made the entire school community that much more excited for the official opening of our salad bar in September of 2022.

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