By Grace Evans
Student nutrition programs operate schools and community centres all over Hamilton, and they are run by staff, student or community volunteers. That means that the grocery shopping, food ordering, food prep, service and clean up is all done by people generously donating their time.
We’re asking those dedicated volunteers to think about serving local food when they create their menu plans for the students. That takes work. It might mean more chopping, washing and prep. It might mean introducing student eaters to fresh vegetables they’ve never encountered before, like daikon or kohlrabi. It might mean getting familiar with these items themselves!
Student nutrition program coordinators and volunteers from seven programs have boldly taken up the challenge to start serving local food. St. Patrick’s, St. Ann’s, St. Lawrence’s, Dawn Patrol, WAVE at the Pinky Lewis Centre, the Larch afterschool program and North Hamilton Community Health Centre are all including locally grown fruits and vegetables on their menus this fall.
We invited those coordinators and volunteers to come out to one of our partner farms, ManoRun Organic Farm in Copetown, to get their hands dirty, and bring some of that first-hand experience back to their student eaters. Participants planted a new crop of garlic, weeded the herb garden, check out the pigs foraging in the forest, and created a “doughnut” compost. Now those volunteers are ready to go back to their programs and talk about where the food they are serving to students came from, and the importance of local food.
Check out more photos from our day on the farm!