Food First NL's Farm to School Training 2018: Adding A Local Crunch to School Lunch

About the Program   

Through our partnership with Farm to Cafeteria Canada, Food First NL acts as the provincial lead in establishing the continent-wide “Farm to School” movement in Newfoundland & Labrador.

The Farm to School movement gets more locally grown food onto the minds and plates of students by establishing partnerships between schools and the farmers, fishers, and food producers in their area. The lynch pin of the program is a Farm-to-School salad bar in the school cafeteria.

In late October, we trained in the latest 3 local schools to have adopted Farm to School programs in our province.

  • Clarenville Middle School & Three Mile Ridge Farm (Clarenville)

  • Immaculate Heart of Mary & Western Environment Centre (Corner Brook)

  • St. Teresa’s Elementary School & Iron & Earth and The Autism Society (St. John’s)

October’s Training Session

21 teachers, food producers, and other associates of the program gathered at The Lantern in St. John’s on October 25th & 26th to talk with staff from Food First NL about launching their Farm to School programs this coming spring.

For the most hands-on portion of the training, we brought in a salad bar like the ones that will be set up in each school’s cafeteria, and held a knife skills workshop with Chef Angie Ryan, to put all hands in the room to use in prepping veggies for the salad bar. The other half of the salad bar was filled with delicious fare from Soul Azteka. Participants can take their new techniques back to their school’s to program operators.

Regional Nutritionists hosted a menu planning session, to help schools create healthy, creative options year-round.

Chad, our Communications Manager, walked each school through crafting their own customized narrative on why they’re adopting a farm to school program. By asking them to come up with speaking points on different aspects of the program, like health benefits for students, or economic & environmental perks for their community, they now have elevator pitches of the program ready for media, or anyone else who asks them about the program.

We ended day two with a field trip to St. Bonaventure’s, for a tour of their school greenhouse. St. Bon’s and Lester’s Farm & Market were the first duo to establish an official Farm to School program in our province. Chris Peters from St. Bon’s fielded a Q&A that left all future Farm-to-Schoolers feeling confident about establishing similar programs at their schools. At the end of the 2-day session, everyone left feeling better informed and more excited about the many benefits of the Farm to School movement.

 What Were People Saying?

“The facilitators were so encouraging and knowledgeable! Loved it!”

“Lots of concrete, useful ideas to take back to our school.”

“Enjoyed learning the roles that kids can participate in that will make this initiative more meaningful.”

A recent report from Farm to Cafeteria Canada documented over 25 benefits of Farm to School program.