by Sam Gambling
Happy 2019 to all F2S Vancouver Area school community members! It’s been a mild winter on the South coast, and schools across the region have taken advantage of the sunshine to get outside and engage in hands-on food systems work that fosters food literacy and healthy eating.
Schools in the Indigenous Foodscapes program have been embracing teachings about traditional food systems, native plants, and Indigenous ways of knowing; students and teachers alike enjoyed lessons from cultural knowledge keepers including Lori Snyder and Alannah Young. At Suwa’lkh School, students spent time in their garden, greenhouse and forest classroom. Native plants from their nursery program are now available for sale: inquire to gray at freshroots.ca
Students across the region are learning about plants and animals native to this region, and how they play a role in traditional food systems and our diverse coastal ecosystems.
Folks from across the region also came together at F2SVA’s network gathering in November, to discuss ways in which healthy, local foods can be brought into schools and onto the plates of students. We heard from teacher Brent Mansfield about the new Edible Education program at Lord Roberts Elementary. Retired teacher Cynthia Bunbury talked about successes and challenges of bringing produce from Sutherland Secondary’s schoolyard market garden into the classroom, as well as the work of their Meatless Monday club which has successfully advocated for increased plant-based options across cafeterias in the North Vancouver School District.
Lord Roberts Elementary’s new Edible Education program brings food from the garden into the kitchen, and onto the plates of students.
Congratulations to five schools in the Vancouver region hub who received a 2019 Farm to School BC grant! I look forward to working with Sentinel Secondary, École Larson, Sea to Sky Alternative School, Richmond Secondary School, and the Cheakamus Centre on their farm to school programs. The Cheakamus Centre, owned and administered by the North Vancouver School District, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. At the Centre, “field school” students engage in diverse food systems activities; they plant vegetables in the garden and greenhouse, help collect eggs and tend to the farm animals, harvest and press apples for juice, learn how to compost, and more! Click here to learn how to sign up for field school, educator workshops, and other events and activities at the Cheakamus Centre.
Students taking part in field school at the Cheakamus Centre learn how to tap maple trees for syrup, keep bees for honey, and feed their food scraps to Capital the resident pig!
In addition to your own Farm to School projects, there are other opportunities to engage with the F2S community across the Vancouver Area:
- Farm to School Learning Circles provide a physical space for teachers, school staff, parents, students and other school community members to network with others who are passionate about healthy, local school food systems; share stories, resources and ideas for Farm to School programs; collaborate on projects, and more. Learning circles will take place once a month from January-June 2019. Stay tuned through our listserv and Farm to School BC Facebook page!
- Inspire Environmental Awareness in Your Students at this fun and interactive workshop on February 15th at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. Learn more about this Pro-D workshop here.
- Green Bricks is offering grade 10-12 students FREE participation in the 6th Annual Green Collar Futures Career Conference on Saturday March 2, 2019 in Burnaby. Learn more here.
- If you’re a teacher, parent, staff member or school food organization looking for food donations to supplement an existing cooking/meal program, you can sign up as a “Donation Station” partner at one of the winter markets this season. Contact Sam at vancouverregion at farmtoschoolbc.ca for details.