Round Hill School, Round Hill, AB
Grant term 2022-2024

The Farm to School Canada Grant has been a transformative force at Round Hill School, bringing about profound, long term changes in our community dynamics, student engagement, and awareness around healthy living and local food systems. This initiative has not only enriched our educational environment but also woven stronger intergenerational and community connections.

Strengthening Community Bonds

One of the most remarkable impacts of the grant has been the enhancement of our community connections, particularly across different generations. The involvement of community groups such as the Round Hill Renaissance Agriculture Foundation, Round Hill Elks, the Round Hill Agriculture Society, the Women’s Institute, Battle River Watershed Alliance, Ducks Unlimited Canada and various community seniors’ groups has fostered a vibrant, inclusive atmosphere. These interactions have allowed our students to learn from the wisdom and experience of older generations while sharing their youthful enthusiasm and creativity. The collaboration with these groups has made our school a hub of community activity, bridging gaps between seniors, families of future Round Hill students, new families, experts, and individual community members. Our meal days are extended not only to our entire school but our school and local community. It is an event that is looked forward to not only by our school but our community as well. 

The Garden: A Community Effort

Our expansive garden features raised mounded compost rows, straw walking paths, and low-till spaces, embodying sustainable agricultural practices. This vibrant garden was built and is lovingly maintained by Round Hill School students, in collaboration with the Round Hill Rural Agricultural Foundation ( and dedicated community members. The hands-on involvement in gardening has provided students with invaluable practical knowledge and a deeper appreciation for the food they eat.

Student-Driven Meal Planning and Preparation

The program empowers students to take charge of their nutritional choices. Students are actively involved in creating meal plans, sourcing recipes, and gathering ingredients. These recipes often reflect the rich tapestry of our community, featuring family favorites, traditional dishes, and innovative creations by the students themselves. This approach not only enhances their culinary skills but also nurtures a connection to their cultural heritage and fosters creativity in the kitchen.

Intergenerational Collaboration in the Kitchen

One of the most cherished aspects of the program is the preparation of food by our Grade 6-9 students, who work alongside a dedicated group of seniors and parents. This intergenerational collaboration is a cornerstone of our program, creating a beautiful exchange of knowledge, skills, and stories. The seniors share their culinary wisdom and life experiences, while students bring fresh perspectives and energy to the table. This dynamic interaction enriches the learning experience, forging strong bonds within our community.

Students have not only learned about food but have also gained practical kitchen skills. The confidence they have developed in preparing meals has been echoed by an increase in parent feedback, noting how their children are more involved in meal preparation at home. Many parents have reported that their children are now taking the initiative to help with cooking and even preparing meals on their own, a testament to the life skills imparted by the program.

Serving and Sharing Meals

Students serve the prepared meals to Round Hill students and staff, their families, and community members. This not only allows students to enjoy meals with their families but also provides opportunities to dine with friends’ families, siblings, neighbours, and other community members. This communal dining experience strengthens the social fabric of our school and community.

Comprehensive Involvement and Communication

After meals are served, students take responsibility for clearing and cleaning in entirety. This full-cycle involvement instills a sense of responsibility and teamwork. Additionally, students prepare information to send home to Round Hill School families, including recipes, local business details such as farms where food was sourced, and food literacy facts. Grade 6-9 students also create feedback quizzes and graph the collected data to make continuous improvements.

Sustainability and Future Growth

We are committed to making ongoing improvements to our garden and the variety of crops we grow to enhance our meals. Leftovers are transformed into mini meals for later in the week, frozen for future events, or donated to families in need. The success and impact of our program have attracted interest from two organizations that wish to sponsor our meals, ensuring the program’s longevity. There is also growing excitement from younger grades eager to participate in future meal preparations, highlighting the program’s inspiring influence.

Fostering Excitement for Healthy Living

The grant has significantly increased excitement around healthy eating, gardening, harvesting, and cooking among students. Activities such as meal planning, preparing, and serving food have become integral parts of our curriculum, igniting a passion for nutrition and self-sufficiency. The school garden, a tangible outcome of the grant, has become a hands-on learning environment where students eagerly participate in planting, tending, and harvesting crops. This direct involvement with food production has fostered a deep appreciation for fresh, locally-sourced produce. We have been able to offer several workshops on canning, and preserving and presentations from experts in their fields such as caterers, chefs, farmers and business owners. We have expanded our growing capacity within the school as well. Growing microgreens and other vegetables with hydroponics, and our tower garden. 

Expanding Food Safety and Local Food Awareness

Another critical impact of the grant has been the heightened awareness of food safety and local food purchasing opportunities. Students have been educated on safe food handling practices, ensuring they understand the importance of hygiene and proper techniques in the kitchen. Additionally, the emphasis on local food has educated students and families about the benefits of supporting local farmers and food producers, promoting a more sustainable and resilient local food system.

In conclusion, the Farm to Cafeteria grant has brought about a holistic improvement at Round Hill School, touching upon educational, social, and health aspects of our community. It has not only enhanced the school’s connection with the broader community, especially intergenerationally, but also fostered a culture of health, sustainability, and local engagement. The skills and awareness developed through this program will have lasting benefits for our students and the community at large, cultivating a generation that values healthy living, local food, and community solidarity.


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