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Farm to School, Farm to School Canada
2016-1017 (Year 1)
Lord Roberts Elementary School is a diverse, urban school in the West End of the Downtown Vancouver Peninsula. With support from Farm to Cafeteria Canada and in partnership with Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots, two innovative charities that have been supporting schools to grow and cook in the Vancouver School Board and beyond for many years, the school has been able to launch LunchLAB. 

Since September 2018, Lord Roberts has been using part of the school’s teacher prep coverage time for Edible Education. In the 2019-2020 school year all 20 Kindergarten to Grade 5 classes participate weekly in Edible Education activities focused on gardening, cooking, healthy eating and sustainable food systems. The school has a large school garden with 28 foot by four foot garden beds, which serves as the garden classroom. The school also has a multi-purpose room that includes a small kitchen (with a stove, cooler fridge, multiple sinks and a commercial dishwasher from when the school had a hot lunch program numerous years ago), which serves as the kitchen classroom.  

LunchLAB builds upon the Edible Education program, giving Grade 5-7 students that have applied to be on the LunchLAB Chef Team further learning and leadership opportunities, while giving all students the opportunity to enjoy healthy, local food more often. In September 2019 over 75 Grade 5-7 students applied to be involved in the Chef Team. Half of that group has been trained and working regularly (once every second week, in groups of approx. 8) with our Chefs-in-Residence from Growing Chefs / Fresh Roots and the Edible Education Teacher to prepare and serve a healthy, local and delicious lunch including a hot entree and a full salad bar. The other half of the students that applied will be trained and involved in the second part of the school year. On LunchLAB days these students come to the kitchen after recess, and miss 70 minutes of their normal class time, which they are responsible for making up, and part of their lunch break.

When possible we include produce from our school garden, as well as much as we can from several local farms, including Fresh Roots’ farms on local secondary school grounds and Salt & Harrow, which is the farm of one of our student’s dad. LunchLAB provides students with hands-on, cross-curricular learning around food literacy while preparing a healthy, local lunch for 150 students, originally once a week in May and June 2019, and then twice a week in the 2019-2020 school year.

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