You’re The Chef
Our vision for Canada is a country with food security, where everybody can afford and access healthy, delicious food that promotes well being. Even though we say that Canada is a developed country, there are too many people in our community, and in our country who cannot afford healthy food. Sometimes, the problem is because food is so expensive, especially if you look at the price of food on Native reserves. Other times, healthy food is hard to find because people might be new to Canada, and they eat different food in their own countries. By encouraging people to grow and eat local foods, we can promote sustainable environmental practices that also support a healthy lifestyle that is culturally relevant to everyone.
We started an after school cooking program called You’re The Chef. This was done with support from our school budget as well as LSF funding in collaboration with Whole Foods.
We had a 10 sessions that ran from 3:30 – 5:30 pm on Wednesdays where we prepared healthy plant based foods. At least one item each week did not involve the use of a stove/oven so as to make it accessible to students who may not have permission to operate such appliances on their own.
This culminated in a presentation at an eco fair called Building Nature Connection. Over 200 people from our York Region District School Board community attended this fair and since our table had food samples, we were definitely very popular!
Our program required students to learn basic kitchen skills such as washing, chopping, slicing, cleaning, mixing and cooking foods. We also discussed and calculated the cost of making certain foods, and learned that it is quite possible to eat a healthy diet, plant-based diet on a tight budget as long as we are creative. We prepared foods from various different cultures and enjoyed trying new things.
Reflection & Celebration
We learned that this program was highly successful at our school. Parents and students have requested it again for next year. Our students learned a lot about the cost effectiveness of a healthy, plant based meal that is prepared at home versus eating out. THey also learned many essential life skills to help them with these tasks.
We learned that the program runs best with a mix of students from different age groups. It also provided an amazing platform for all of our students to be engaged, especially those who are very quiet in class as well as for those who are very active, and everyone in between.
For next year, we hope to have more volunteers supporting us in running the program.