Tatiana Vorobej and her Hospitality and Tourism students serve up their freshly made delicacies
Guest author: Josie Di Felice from Sustain Ontario (used, with thanks)
Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School in Ottawa celebrated Farm to School Month 2019 in style on October 24th with a spectacular event held on parent-teacher night.
The event, Back to Our Roots, showcased some of the exciting farm to school (F2S) activities their students are digging into, and demonstrated how these activities can make an impact across the whole school (and beyond).
At Sir Guy Carleton, students benefit from a large outdoor garden, a greenhouse, tower gardens and an aquaponics system. So what better way to showcase F2S than to serve up some of that delicious school-grown food?
Serving up the Fresh Tomato Salsa with Corn Tortilla Chips made by the grade 9-10 hospitality class
Guests of the event were able to meet several of the school’s Hospitality and Tourism SHSM students, who shared that they had spent the entire morning baking and preparing food for the event. They served samples and sold foods that had been prepared in class, many of which that had ingredients sourced from the school’s garden and greenhouse. Just to name a couple items on the menu, garden-fresh beets made an impressive beet truffle chocolate cake, and fresh potatoes made for a delicious potato salad. (The school harvested 45 lbs of potatoes this September!)
Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes for sale
Alongside the freshly made food were jars of recent preserves – Green Tomato Chili Chutney, Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes, and Peach preserves. Yum!
Derek Brez is one of the teachers of the school’s Green Industries Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, which has students growing and learning from the aquaponics system, greenhouse and garden.
The school also created a new 32-raised-bed soil garden this year to increase production for service in the cafeteria.
Fresh produce from the greenhouse and gardens is often used in their breakfast program and cafeteria. Even water infused with fresh herbs is served at breakfast and lunch!
Tatiana Vorobej runs the school’s Hospitality and Tourism SHSM program, where students gain experience with both cooking and catering. On certain days, if the hospitality classes make enough food, it will also be served in the cafeteria at lunch.
Chef Fred Billings serves up potato salad at the Back to Our Roots event
Kitchen Manager Brad Larabie, who is a former student, runs the school’s lunch and breakfast programs alongside Chef Fred Billings. Together they supervise volunteers and co-op students who are cooking and prepping for the breakfast and lunch program, including the salad bar. (Students can get their required volunteer hours for this time!)
On a week where lettuce was being recalled across North America due to E. Coli, Sir Guy Carleton served at least 115 free plates from their salad bar using lettuce grown in their aquaponic and hydroponic systems.
Back to our Roots had some of the fish on display to showcase the impressive aquaponics system, which produces 400 heads of lettuce at a time.
As you can see, the F2S programs are making waves through the whole school — from the outdoor gardens, into the classrooms and through the kitchen and cafeteria.
The programs have even paved the way for wonderful partnerships in the community, like with The Boys & Girls Club, who watered the school’s garden all summer. As a thank you, the Club received a bunch of tomatoes.
Bravo and thank you to Sir Guy Carleton and their passionate teachers for showing parents and their broader community what farm to school is all about, and how exciting student-engaged food initiatives can spread throughout the school thanks to the dedication of amazing staff and students!
Salad Bar Unit used by Sir Guy on Salad Bar Days