Huband Park Elementary School in Courtenay BC is a rural school in a beautiful neighbourhood about 10 minutes north of town. It has Seal Bay Nature Park close by with multiple trails for students to use and a salmon bearing creek that runs through the property. As a rural school, there are a number of families connected to the school who own or work on farms and this was the driving force behind our salad bar project the school started in 2012. A huge part of the credit goes to Arzeena Hamir, parent and farm owner, who applied for the first F2C grant application that was successful. This was the start of our salad bar journey at Huband Park. Our current coordinator is parent Shannon Simpson and she is doing a great job continuing the traditions and focusing on food literacy.
As you can imagine, our salad bar started small but has been growing by leaps and bounds year over year. We have been successful in a 2nd grant application to purchase another whole salad bar setup. What started as a small project serving about 40 or 50 students is now a very large operation serving about 180 to 200 students every Tuesday! We have a core team of volunteers that includes parents, chefs, work experience students from a local high school and our own students who all volunteer time to make salad bar Tuesday a reality at Huband.
As principal of the school, I cannot stress enough how important the volunteers are to the success of this program. To help the general public and our school board understand this important idea better, I have supported the creation of a video that showcases our salad bar. Please take a few minutes to view our new parent-produced salad bar video on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/Huband_Park_Salad_Bar_Video
The next part of our salad bar journey is to work on a number of important initiatives that connect to salad bar Tuesdays. Ongoing, we are looking to find more small local food producers and move away from purchasing food at big box stores that have a much larger eco footprint. We are also exploring how chefs can visit the school and work with classes on nutrition and other healthy living related topics. Finally, we are looking to take students on field trips to local farms so they can learn about their local community and find out about all the wonderful things that happen on farms! We had the BC Dairy Foundation visit our school recently and students learned amazing things about milk production and how dairy farming is an integral part of our local rural community, as well as a major employer in our Comox Valley and our province.
The focus of our salad bar in the recent past has been to develop the program to feed more and more students a healthy lunch option. This has been about building our own capacity to supply students and staff with salad on Tuesdays. With our 2nd salad bar unit on the way, we are going to be able to work more on the educational and motivational aspects of this program for students and families.
Thank you, Farm2Cafeteria Canada Program for supporting Huband Park Elementary School and helping it move to healthier food options for students, and increased knowledge in the area of healthy living.