The month of October was Farm to School Month hosted by Farm to Cafeteria Canada, and this year our regional hubs celebrated in a big way. We wanted to share some of the magic with you! Learn more about the #FoodConnects theme and how to get involved in the farm-to-school movement at this link.
Written by Madison Pinder | November 22, 2022 | Farm to School Month
This year, we collaborated with Farm to Cafeteria Canada to celebrate the power of food to connect us to each other and the world around us! Farm to School Month is celebrated each October and provides opportunities to:
- Showcase the diversity of ways farm or local food to school activities come to life in different communities.
- Celebrate the impacts of farm to school, and the people who make it possible.
- Set the stage to explore a relevant theme for the duration of the school year.
- Encourage more school communities to get involved!
The Farm to School Approach is all about making connections: to food and where it comes from, to hands-on learning, and to the broader community. In the spirit of this, our Regional Community Animators visited schools within their hubs and highlighted the many ways that students, teachers, and community members come together to connect with food. Continue reading and hopefully learning about the diverse ways that different schools across BC engage in Farm to School activities will encourage you to do the same with your class.
Capital Region: Tubers at Belmont Secondary, SD 62
Food connects cultures and histories! In these photos, students at Belmont Secondary are learning about two very different tubers. The small brown tubers are one-year-old camas plants, a long revered and stewarded Indigenous lily. The bright red tuber is a radish, a spicy and fast-maturing vegetable. Both are important food plants that open doors to understanding diverse cultural growing practices and culinary traditions.
Central Island Region: Apple Day at Gabriola Elementary, SD 68
Apples Connect – from field to community to school to mouths!
October 7th was the third annual Apple Day at Gabriola Elementary. Apples were juiced, sauced, dried, made into art projects, and inspired an impromptu apple soccer match! The apples were donated by a community member, picked by a Grade 7 class, and processed and enjoyed by the whole school with the help of community volunteers.
This incredible annual event is organized and hosted by People for a Healthy Community on Gabriola.
Kamloops Region: Let’s Talk Trash with Shuswap Middle School, SD 83
Food Connects us to our community and peers.
With support from Farm to School BC, environmental champion and teacher, Kira Limber, and a group of Grade 8 students from Shuswap Middle School in Salmon Arm, BC collaborated to create a video to bring awareness to how waste is currently managed in their school. Depending on the district, waste management in schools varies greatly. Recycling & composting programs are not all alike, and can sometimes come across as confusing to both teachers and students. Lack of clarity can lead to behaviors within the school that generate more waste headed to the landfill than necessary.
These students brought forward the idea of creating a video to show their peers within the district. “Let’s Talk Trash” walks viewers through a waste audit of a hallway garbage bin. “We were amazed to learn that there were only three items in a full garbage bin that actually belonged in the local landfill! Wow!” Most of the items belonged in the compost, highlighting opportunities to share more understanding of food waste management.
Northwest Region: School Garden Turns 1 at Nechako Elementary, SD 82
Food Connects us to knowledge and skills. The 2021/2022 school year marked the first year for the Nechako Elementary school garden! The beautiful space features raised garden boxes proudly displayed at the front of the school.
“There is much enjoyment in seeing the garden progress over the growing season and trying out fresh vegetables. Some of the vegetables are used for the school lunch program while some go home with our students to try with their families. The garden has connected the school community as it is one big school project where everyone can participate at some point in the growing season”.
– Teacher at Nechako Elementary
“This is our first year of Nechako’s school garden. We have 6 vegetable boxes and one pollinator box. Our garden was a lot more productive than we imagined! We are still harvesting sorrel, cherry tomatoes, pole beans, kale, and also some garlic. We also had a nice crop of Yukon gold potatoes that we dug up in September”.
– Teacher at Nechako Elementary
North Central Region: Connecting Schools to Community through Place-based Learning, SD 57
Thanks to the support of Northern Health and program community partners REAPS Prince George, The College of New Caledonia (CNC), The University of Northern BC (UNBC), and The David Douglas Botanical Garden Society (DDBGS) our field trips connected students and educators within SD57 to a unique place-based hands-on learning experience of food in action!
Students got to tour the CNC culinary arts kitchens and meet culinary students in action. They also toured the CNC Greenhouse and indoor growing lab where they got both learning and hands-on experiences touching, tasting, smelling, planting, caring for, and harvesting a diversity of plants.
At UNBC students received a guided lesson & tour of the DDBGS botanical gardens and the UNBC Food For Thought production and community gardens. Many classes also benefited from a REAPS garden and growing presentation, speaking to foundational knowledge in soil, plants, and garden environments.
The experience connected students to (for many) new places and growing environments, new plants, and conversations with further understandings of connections to some foods.
Surrey Region: Nature Journaling with Bothwell Elementary, SD 36
Food Connects students to Family & Friends, Nature, and Themselves!
The students in Grades 3/4 at Bothwell Elementary took part in nature journaling when visiting their school garden. The class had community journals, which were shared journals by every student in the classroom. Each student would be given a different journal each time they visited the garden. They could read what the student before them had journaled and write their own passage about the garden. This journal encouraged sharing and exploring of stories, memories, and emotions with the entire class.
When speaking with the students, we asked what the garden taught them or what they think food connects them to, and they answered:
- “The garden taught me patience while waiting for things to grow”
- “The garden taught me about teamwork and team building. The entire class helped to install the hoops in the garden for the winter. We had to work together and use buckets to scoop out the water in the soil”
- “I think food connects us to memories and family. The garden reminds me of gardening with my grandpa and the peppers he grew. My family townhouse has a little rooftop garden which we grow in and play around”
- “Food connects us to nutrients and vegetables”
- “Food connects us to cooking & home”
Vancouver Area Region: Schoolyard Transformation at Admiral Seymour Elementary, SD 39
With the support of Farm to School BC’s Start-Up Grant and other community partners and supporters, Admiral Seymour Elementary in Vancouver, SD 39, has been able to transform a patch of dirt in their schoolyard into a thriving garden space, where students learn about connecting to the land, growing food, worm composting and more!
Last June, they hosted a Garden Celebration event to welcome the community back into their garden and celebrate the hard work of their students, staff, and supporters! Great work, Seymour!
We are thrilled to have celebrated Farm to School Month with our regional hubs. We recognize that these celebrations are only one way for us to connect students with their food and build healthier communities. The goal of this month was to encourage people across BC to think more about how food brings us together, so we’re excited that so many of you participated in these activities.
We hope that you found something new in this article and are inspired to join the movement!
Farm to School BC will continue to work with communities and partners year-round to empower and support schools in building comprehensive farm-to-school programs that support vibrant, sustainable, regional food systems, develop student food literacy, and enhance school and community connectedness.