by Bonnie Klohn
Here in the Kamloops Hub Region, spring is in the air! I can feel the energy building for a productive and educational growing season. The last few months have been action packed, and there are a few fun stories that I would like to share.
First, the City of Kamloops invited Farm to School to the Family Day Festival. There were over 4000 children and parents there, as well as… Mr. Brown, a Flemish giant rabbit (pictured below). At the Family Day Festival the children had the opportunity to feed Mr. Brown green beans and talk about how micro-livestock like rabbits and chickens can contribute to reducing the amount of food waste that goes into the landfill and closing the household food system loop.
Another exciting project that is germinating in Kamloops at this time is a partnership between School District 73, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Culinary Arts program, and TRU Horticulture program. The project is called Mind the Gap, and is all about bridging pre and post-secondary students. There will be a number of Farm to School classrooms that will have the opportunity to take field trips to campus to learn about food waste, cooking food, and growing food. The hope is to continue to build relationships between teachers and instructors and staff on campus, and explore possibilities for a district-wide education community garden, food and culinary summer camps for kids, and much more! It has been very exciting being part of the group of teachers, school district administrators and TRU partners as the ideas and energy for this project grows.
We were pleased to have a visit from Joanne Bays, the Director of Farm to Cafeteria Canada. She came to Kamloops for a short visit, and we had the opportunity to tour several schools with her that are involved in Farm to School and Farm to Cafeteria. We learned about microgreens projects, school farmer’s market sales, projects to build a yurt green house, school egg-laying hens, and plans for spring gardens. Joanne also joined the Kamloops Food Policy Council monthly network meeting to talk on the subject of household food insecurity.
Laura Kalina (Interior Health Dietician), Joanne Bays (Farm to Cafeteria), Roy Styles (Vice Principal of Arthur Hatton), Sherry Stade (School District 73 Health Promoting Schools Coordinator), Simone Jennings (Interior Health Dietician)
Finally, as spring rounds the corner, it is time for Farm to School to celebrate! We are in the midst of planning our Kamloops Region Celebration of Learning, and it promises to be very exciting this year. Kamloops is home to western Canada’s first Community Food Centre. Run by a local non-profit, the Mt Paul Community Food Centre is epicentre of hands-on learning about cooking, growing and eating food! They regularly host many of the Farm to School classrooms for field trips to the centre, and they have agreed to host our Celebration of Learning this year. The event will take place in late May and will provide an opportunity for all new Farm to School programs to come and learn at various stations that will involve the garden, kitchen, and lots of learning!
Mt Paul Food Centre staff: Tammy Rosch, Shannon Gourlay, Alexis Blueschske, Diane Mayrhofer, Dawn Christie
All of the promising projects that are getting off the ground feel very timely for the season, just like sprouting seeds, tucked in warm soil and starting to grow. I can’t wait to see them all come to fruition and for the associated food literacy outcomes to take root in our community.