This guest post is from Sally Collins, a local teacher and real food enthusiast who was inspired to try to make a difference in her students' education by ensuring their education included a healthy focus on healthy food. Here's a follow up highlighting some of what she's done with the $50,000 grant she received from Ontario's Ministry of Education in support of healthy eating initiatives.In my guest post on June 2nd, 2014, I told you about the $50,000 healthy eating grant that our high school, Norman Johnston Alternate, had received. In that post I outlined our plans for spending it. Since then, we’ve had a chance to follow through on many of those ideas, including building raised garden beds and growing produce that students use in our nutrition classes. Additionally, we built a new kitchen, had a dietitian and guest chefs visit, and took students to work in a gourmet restaurant. It’s been a busy time to say the least!
One initiative in particular I’d like to share more with you today is the healthy eating camp we ran at the end of October. Two colleagues and I took eighteen of our students to Camp IAWAH, near Westport, Ontario, for a three- day cooking and eating extravaganza. It was a blast!
At the camp, the students cooked all our meals under the guidance of the camp chef. Between meals, my colleagues and I taught the students about kitchen safety, food labels, the food industry, nutrition claims, and basic nutrition. We knew the students would have low tolerance for a classroom setting so we taught them primarily through games and other highly participatory activities.
Along with the official healthy eating activities, we also had time for indoor rock climbing, a terrifying night hike, and a camp fire with complete with cheesy songs, like “Down by the Bay”. We didn’t get a lot of sleep, but it was worth it!
I’ll close with reflections from some of the students who were at the camp,
“I learned how to read the nutrition facts behind the food we eat. I loved everything about the camp and really hope I get the opportunity to do it again with all the same people,” Natasha Paquette.
“I learned cooking is not really as hard as it seems,” Cara Ladouceur.
“There are a lot of things that I could take back and use at home, like why you season chicken. There are also a lot of salads that I learned to make,”
“The kitchen staff were amazing and made cooking fun,” Samuele-Lyn LaRocque.
“I loved working with actual cooks,” Justice Shanks.
“I have learned helpful tips and trips on how to replace unhealthy food that I like with healthier options, while still retaining flavour. I have learned how to read labels and recognize what is healthy and what is not. Now that I know how to be more health conscious I can share that knowledge with people around me,” Cameron Jette.