Being the Change at School Sporting Events: A Photo Story Update from Dr. David Suzuki Public School

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Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: January 12, 2015

Categories: Edible Education Network / Edible Education Project Profiles / News from Sustain Ontario

Dr. David Suzuki Public SchoolBy Philippa von Ziegenweidt, a parent at Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor

A recent Youtube video by a professor from the University of Alberta on food served at school sporting events recommends that we all need to “be the change to see the change”.

This is something Dr. David Suzuki Public Elementary School in Windsor has been practising since it opened just five years ago. Case in point: we recently hosted a volleyball tournament for area schools. We had more than 200 guests over the course of the evening. At events like this, it is normal for parent volunteers and the teachers of the host school to raise funds by selling food to the participants and families who come to watch. In Windsor, the fare often consists of convenience foods that offer little nutritional value.

David Suzuki MenuAt Suzuki, we like to demonstrate that it is very doable to serve real food that is made from scratch. We are careful to choose dishes that we have made before and which are easy to prepare. We use seasonal ingredients where possible, and we keep costs manageable by scouring flyers for promotions. Below is the menu from our volleyball tournament, including one item that isn’t normally seen at school sporting events: plain milk, served by the glass.



Principal Jan Fairall, and Shayna, a parentWe had a lot of fun preparing the dinner. The picture to the left shows our Principal, Jan Fairall, and Shayna, one of our parents, preparing a fresh batch of pasta. We’re lucky to have a kitchen at Suzuki. Although it’s no larger than most home kitchens, and it can get a little crowded at times, it usually serves us pretty well.

We set up long tables in the hallways near the kitchen. At this table, dinner guests assembled their own sandwiches with a variety of toppings and salads, including a fresh kale salad with roasted chickpea “croutons”, coleslaw and hummus. We had a number of very enthusiastic students who helped to serve.

Kids Eating

We also had a large pasta and soup table. Our volunteers served vegetarian pasta, chicken noodle soup, and broccoli soup, all made from scratch.

We offered a free slice of our Suzuki banana “cake” (we make it nice and hearty with locally-milled wholewheat flour and less sugar, but that doesn’t make it any less popular) to anybody who supplied their own dinnerware. We realized this incentive was a little ambitious, so we ended up selling most of our cake instead, though we will continue to do this at future events.Lunch

Since at Suzuki we can’t bring food into our gym, but we’re always making use of what we have, we set up tables in some of the classrooms, where the teams went to eat their dinners.

We also prefer not to use disposable dinnerware. While our own students have become really good at bringing their own plates and forks when we serve meals at Suzuki, we realized our visitors wouldn’t remember to bring their own. It didn’t stop us from trying though. We have a limited supply of plastic plates and real cutlery, which we supplemented with paper plates and plastic forks (we sterilize the latter and reuse them).

We also used cutlery from Windsor’s Community Cutlery Collective, a new sharing initiative that enables any community group to borrow real flatware for its events.

Waste StationWe also hid our large garbage bins. At previous events, we had found that quite a few people had thrown reusable plates into the trash. By hiding the garbage bins and supplying only small ones in one central area, we forced everybody to think about where they were putting their garbage. This way there were far fewer “mistakes”. Those that did occur were easy to spot, which meant that far less waste went to the landfill than one might usually expect.

We were thrilled with the number of dinners we served. Not everybody ordered something to eat, but we are sure that everybody saw how Suzuki offered something very different than what is normally done at Windsor sporting events.

Below you will see a picture of myself with another parent, Alex, towards the end of the evening when most of the food trays were empty.

We made a profit a little shy of $400, and that was after serving complimentary dinners to our volunteers, the referees and coaches.

We like to measure our success in other ways, too, though. We heard from many of our guests how impressed they were with our dinner offerings. Not only was the food very tasty, but it was healthy too, and the prices we charged were reasonable.

To crown it all, the home team won the tournament, so we were thrilled with our evening!


Philippa von Ziegenweidt
Dr. David Suzuki Public School


This profile is part of a series of profiles for the Ontario Edible Education Network.
Be sure to check out more profiles from the Network here!