Ontario Farm to School Inspiration: Frederick Banting Alternate Site

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Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: February 1, 2017

Categories: Edible Education Network / GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario / Schools

Canada’s 3rd Annual National Farm to School Month, led by Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC), was held throughout the month of October 2016.

A number of schools submitted Farm to School stories to F2CC as part of the month’s #ThinkandEatLocalatSchool contest. Here is the 4th story that we’re sharing as inspiration for 2017!

Frederick Banting Alternate Site shared the following story about how they engage in thinking and eating local at school:

During the month of October, students at Frederick Banting Alternate Program in Stittsville, Ontario, engaged in many farm to school activities. These activities included harvesting and preparing meals from gardens and delivered produce, dehydrating fruit, and participating in both a field trip to a local tomato greenhouse and a webinar on food waste.

Each year, our school plants an organic garden on the school property. Students harvested the vegetables that were still in the garden in October. A variety of vegetables were present, including kale, mustard greens, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and beans. Students then used their harvest to prepare soup and a salad in the kitchen for themselves and other students in the school.

This October, we had the good fortune of a teacher bringing in apples from his organic orchard. Students cut them up and placed them in the dehydrator for two days. Many students never heard of this method of preserving produce before, and an appreciation for dehydrated fruit developed.

Our school regularly receives the Good Food Box, a delivery of fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables grown close to home. In October, students roasted a feast of root vegetables, plus replanted the stalks of leek and the eyes of potatoes to grow into more plants. Although not harvested in October, our students collected maple sap last spring and boiled it down to create maple syrup. That school-made maple syrup was used as an ingredient in both salad dressing and on roasted vegetables that our students cooked.

A group of students visited SunTech Greenhouse this month to observe how tomatoes are grown year-round in the 1.5 acre greenhouse. Students toured the greenhouses, learning about hydroponic agriculture and how the growing season is extended in the Ottawa area.

On October 18th, students in our science class participated in the Partners In Research Live Event Webinar on Food Waste and the Worldwide Food System. Students learned about reducing food waste and posed live questions about. They learned the true cost of food waste, as well as being more aware of checking food quality when buying or harvesting “funny-looking fruit”. This concept was reflected on when they used apples as both part of their salad and the fruit they dehydrated. They also learned about eating leftovers, portion control at mealtimes, and reminded on how to compost food scraps.

October Farm to School month at Frederick Banting not only raised awareness about growing and eating local produce, but also increased students’ appreciation of sustainable agriculture, extending the life of produce in different ways even after harvest, and reducing food waste on a local and global level. As well, the Science and Biology classes conducted experiments and created lab reports from their “science” activities in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy. By engaging in these activities, students gained more respect for the environment, and an increased value of the the food that that they eat every day, teaching them to farm, harvest, cook and preserve from their environment.

Many thanks to Frederick Banting Alternate Site for sharing their story!  Also in this series, check out:

Stay Tuned – stories from Farm to School Month 2016 will continue to be posted on the Sustain Ontario Blog.