Kamloops Region Farm to School Hub
It is back to school for students across the province, and with that, come an abundance of food! It’s harvest time for farms and gardens in Kamloops, and our Farm to School teachers are raring to get their hands on some of that food.
Other than growing food at schools, the fall is a wonderful season to take students on a field trip down to the farmers’ market in your area, and give the students a chance to talk to the farmers and learn about how the food was grown. Even better, coordinate a tour with your local farmer to visit a farm. Not only will students learn about farming and agricultural practices, but there may be opportunities for students to help out! Squash picking assembly lines, perhaps?
Now is the time of the year to preserve your local harvest. Please check out the following websites to obtain resources that might be helpful when thinking about the learning outcomes and the process of preserving food if you have limited personal experience; Action Schools! BC, Practical Action, Put It Up, Food for Keeps, among many others. Food preservation is a part of the Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies (ADST) and Physical and Health Education curriculum; on the ADST side, food preservation is a perfect mechanism take use the model of prototyping, reflection, and improvement.
Garden boxes at Arthur Hatton Elementary.
The Food Sustainability class at Brock Middle School participated in an apple harvest as part of the Gleaning Abundance Program, picking apples that may have otherwise gone to waste. From one tree, the students picked 299 pounds of Spartan apples, which they brought back to school and used them to make applesauce, apple pies and dehydrated to make apple chips. They used the products and sold it through fundraising campaigns to sustain their program for the following year; apples are very versatile. Not only did students learn about harvesting, cooking and selling apples, they were just as happy to eat them fresh off the tree!
Brock students picking apples as part of their Food Sustainability class.
The grade 4 class at Arthur Hatton has also hit the ground running, making three salads and corn at the Back to School BBQ for the parents. The students were so proud of their salads, and so were their parents! The best part about it was that the students went on a field trip to the Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market, chose the food they wanted to buy, made all of the salads the next day, and served it to their parents that evening. Everything in the salads was not only local, but the students got to meet the farmers and learn about how everything was grown. They also harvested food from their garden boxes at the school, providing the tomatoes, peppers, and herbs for the salads.
The raw ingredients of the salads for the Back to School BBQ (left), a pepper ripening in the garden (right), about to be picked for the salads!
The Wild Salmon Caravan came to Kamloops on Wednesday, October 11, and was held downtown at Riverside Park. There was a parade downtown along Victoria Street, next to the farmers’ market, then back down to the park for a salmon lunch feast.
In advance of the parade, students were be able to participate in workshops organized by SD73 focusing on dipnetting and salmon filleting, and by the Big Little Science Center looking at a salmon’s anatomy and making salmon art rubbings. Several classes attended the parade, which was amazing!
● Whole Kids Foundation, Sept 1- Nov 15, $2000, school garden
● Go Grants, Feb 15, 2018
● Healthy Schools BC, October 9- November 10, 2017
● Honda, ongoing, apply with community group
The schools this year are doing so well; although it’s hard to be thinking about food and its preservation right at the beginning of the school year, more students and teachers making it a routine. The cycle of food production means that most of it happens during the busy times of the school year (fall and spring), but the Farm to School teachers are learning how to make space for that food, and use it within the ADST curriculum to fulfill their education requirements, while engaging students in their local food system and teaching them valuable food literacy skills. Food skills are so important for young students to learn, as they are skills that students will use for the rest of their lives, creating positive health outcomes, both mental and physical.