École Secondaire Cochrane High School, Cochrane, ON
Grant term 2022-2024

Our small Northern Ontario high school has benefited immensely from receiving a Farm to School grant in 2022! 

Though there have been so many positive highlights, we are especially proud of how our students’ understanding of Indigenous connections to land and food sources has significantly deepened through active engagement with elders and knowledge keepers. These interactions provide students with firsthand insights into the cultural, spiritual and practical aspects of traditional ecological knowledge. By participating in hands-on activities like foraging, hunting and trapping, students gained a holistic understanding of how Indigenous practices are intricately tied to the land. These experiences foster a sense of respect and responsibility towards the environment, highlighting the importance of sustainability and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge. This enriched learning process not only broadens their perspective on Indigenous cultures but also emphasizes the value of preserving these connections for future generations. 

Under the guidance of local community members, one of the most unique opportunities allowed our Cree Language and Culture students the opportunity to participate in the harvest of a moose which culminated in making a moose stew that they shared with other students in the school. Aside from the rich learning they engaged in during this process, the best takeaway was witnessing the profound sense of pride we saw as these students served this traditional dish to their peers. The act was more than just sharing food; it was an opportunity to showcase their rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions. This exchange not only built bridges between different cultural backgrounds but also reinforced the importance and value of their traditions and knowledge.

With the funds accessed from the grant, our school has also been able to serve a Friday hot breakfast to our students, buy much needed kitchen equipment for our Food Lab and increase experiential learning opportunities with our local community. As a school, we also added additional Food and Nutrition classes to our timetable, increasing the number of students able to benefit from learning about the importance of food to our overall physical and mental health. École Secondaire Cochrane High School is very grateful to the Farm to School Cafeteria program for all of its support.

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