Vancouver Area Farm to School Hub – Community Animator Fall Blog Post


Happy Farm to School Month! All across the country, students, teachers, farmers, and communities are celebrating the diversity of programs, policies and activities that connect children and youth to local, healthy, and sustainable foods! This October 2016, Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC) is launching its third annual Canadian National Farm to School month campaign: Think & Eat Local @ School. F2CC is inviting all schools across Canada to engage students in Farm to School (F2S) activity during the month of October and share their experiences, for a chance to win 1 of 3 $1500 Farm to School grants for their school!




Here on the West Coast, the Farm to School Vancouver Area Regional Hub is celebrating Farm to School Month by highlighting some incredible successes of current F2S programs. This 2016/2017 school year, many schools across Vancouver and the North Shore will be working on a variety of programs and activities to bring healthy, local, and sustainable food onto the plates and minds of students, and to connect students with hands-on learning opportunities in gardens, kitchens, and beyond.

Here are some examples of schools that are Thinking & Eating Local:

  • Students and teachers at David Thompson Secondary, in partnership with Fresh Roots, have created a Schoolyard Market Garden that provides the students and school community with a bounty of local, healthy foods to eat and explore both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Students at Queen Elizabeth Annex share healthy local snacks while learning about nutrition, food safety, food sharing, and cooking with produce from  their school garden.
  • Students and teachers at Sutherland Secondary, in partnership with the North Shore Neighbourhood House’s Edible Garden Project, have created a Schoolyard Market Garden to provide fresh, local veggies to both the school cafeteria and community, as well as opportunities for hands-on learning in the soil.
  • In partnership with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, ten schools (9 elementary, 1 secondary) around Vancouver are involved in organic food production and/or food education. Check out a CBC news article on the garden at Henry Hudson Elementary!


Sutherland Secondary students are getting their hands in the soil this autumn. Fresh veggies being tended to in the garden are then served in school cafeteria salads!

Whether you are already fully engaged with F2S activities, are in the early stages of starting up a program, or are new to the concept of F2S, there are many ways to celebrate National Farm to School Month this October and share your experience for a chance to win a F2CC Farm to School Grant! Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

  • Eat Local Food!
    • Celebrate in the kitchen and cafeteria with a “Farm to School” menu for the month of October, or with a special harvest meal that highlights local food (for seasonal recipe ideas, see the Vancouver Area Farm to School Guide).
    • Organize a class field trip to a local farm (eg. the UBC farm in Vancouver and Loutet Farm in North Vancouver are two examples of sustainable farms that offer student tours).
    • Celebrate in your garden — host a garden party, harvest taste testing, or plant fall crops.
  • Think Local Food!
    • Celebrate in your classroom — plant an indoor herb garden, make smoothies, or invite a guest farmer, fisher, or other speaker (eg. The Environmental Youth Alliance hosts workshops on Basic Gardening, Composting, and more).
    • Share your F2S visions at a school assembly or through social media.
    • Include food and cooking books to your class reading list (Project Chef offers recommendations for food-related books and ideas for classroom activities. 
    • Sell local produce to raise money for Farm to School activities through a Fresh To You Fundraiser at your school!

For more information about F2S in Vancouver, check out Farm to School Vancouver Area Guide, or the Farm to Cafeteria Canada website for more information on Farm to School Month. If you’d like help connecting finding local food, connecting with local farmers and guest presenters, or have general inquiries about Farm to School in the Vancouver Area (F2SVA), please contact Samantha, F2SVA Community Animator, at


Monthly F2SVA Network Meetings

October also signifies the start of Farm to School Vancouver Area (F2SVA) Monthly Network Meetings! Beginning this month, F2SVA will be hosting monthly meetings online to share information, to highlight inspiring F2S programs, to troubleshoot challenges and identify opportunities to advance F2S programs in our region, and to provide an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are passionate about healthy, sustainable school food systems.

This month’s webinar meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 19 from 3:45-4:45 and will feature Rosalind Sadowski of Fresh Roots along with Chef Training/Culinary Arts and ACE IT instructor Lee Green of David Thompson Secondary School. These two F2S leaders will present an overview of F2S activities taking place at David Thompson and answer questions about their experiences setting up and running Farm to School programming in the Vancouver context (30 minutes).

Following this presentation, Nikoo Boroumand of Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) will facilitate an open discussion on the theme of “F2S in the Curriculum”. Join us to share ideas on how to integrate F2S into the new BC Curriculum with fellow educators and school community members from across Vancouver, the North Shore, and Richmond.

Please click here for event details.


Animator Reflection: Samantha Gambling, Vancouver Area F2S Community Animator


Hi everyone! My name’s Sam and I’m pleased to introduce myself as the Community Animator for F2SVA. I grew up on the North Shore and have a background in food policy and production, as well as teaching and humane education. I’m excited to be stepping into this role as Community Animator, and am extremely grateful for the warm reception of the F2S community as I dive right into the new school year — it’s already kicking off to a great start! I’m blown away by the breadth of F2S activities and dedication of school communities to connect and teach students about our food production, processing, distribution, marketing, and consumption systems — an incredibly important piece of the puzzle to building more sustainable and mindful communities.

I look forward to connecting with you and providing support to foster F2S activities in our region. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for your school to kick things off or keep things moving. Thanks for all that you do, and be in touch!