St Martin De Porres, Airdrie, AB
Grant term 2020-2022
We are so proud to have finally kicked off our Farm 2 Cafeteria (F2C) initiatives this year! St. Martin de Porres is a school in Airdrie, Alberta with roughly 650 students in grades 9-12.
A priority for our F2C committee was to create fun ways to get our students involved and excited about eating more healthy, sustainable and locally produced food! What better way than a little healthy competition!
To drive some discussion around healthy food and F2C start up, we created our own SMDP MasterChef competition. This consisted of 16 teams, 4 rounds and 1 winning team of three students. In an effort to really involve as many students as possible, we enlisted a team of actors to be the announcers and judges, a film crew and editing team. The competition was filmed and each episode was aired for the entire school to enjoy watching. We also had a team of students create and sew the custom-made aprons for the winners of MasterChef! The competition definitely brought some awareness and excitement around healthy and sustainable eating! Part of the prize was also the ability to create and plan the future menu options of the salad bar.
Another F2C student led project we initiated was the building of two raised cedar planter boxes. We had two teachers and several grade 11 students work on a design concept, plan and construction of these boxes. The goal was to observe and nurture the growing process of some food to eventually eat as part of the salad bar and canteen offerings. The students are also leading the planning and maintenance of the planter boxes from day to day. In the attached photo, our Special Education students are observing the growth of our seedlings for science class.
Our biggest project was opening up our F2C Salad Bar, the big kick off event lasted one week and partnered with many local vendors in the community. We offered a taco salad bowl using local farm raised beef, homemade Mexican nachos, locally made pico de gallo and guacamole and homegrown sprouted microgreens. We fed the entire school and received top notch reviews, even for the ultra-healthy sprouted greens!
Every week we have continued to offer F2C salad bar to our school community and have served items like an Asian pulled pork salad bowl, Greek Power Bowl and Chicken Caesar salad bowl. Since we are a small rural city, we are surrounded by local producers, businesses and ranchers which we enjoy partnering with for our initiative. We have 50-60 students who sign up for salad bar each week, many of which comment on how much they enjoy having a healthy lunch option.
All in all, the Farm to Cafeteria Canada grant has really allowed our school to bring education on eating sustainably and locally to the forefront at our school. It has been an exciting endeavor and has even trickled into other initiatives, such as helping us re-think some of our waste management systems as we have converted to using more compostable packaging to serve our lunches. We are thankful to have been the recipients of the grant and all of the projects and initiatives it has allowed us to do for the students at St. Martin de Porres school.