Roots to Harvest, in partnership with Westgate CVI and with funding from the Greenbelt Fund, has transformed the traditional high school cafeteria into the Get Fresh Café – focusing on seasonal, fresh and from scratch food every day. On October 20th, the broader school community was invited to come to the cafeteria during Parent Teacher Interviews and taste the menu to discover for themselves the new and delicious menu options. The Taste the Menu evening showcased menu options for parents and students to taste, prepared by the cafeteria staff and the Foods and Nutrition class.
Building on the success of the last two years of Farm to Cafeteria with the Lakehead Public Schools, the Get Fresh Café features local and Ontario products in its seasonal menu. Local producers include Belluz Farms, Brule Creek Flour, The Squash Queen, Mile Hill Farms, and B&B Farms. In August, cafeteria staff attended training with local chef, Nikos Mantis of Pinetree Catering and Localmotion Food Truck, to improve and enhance their food preparation skills.
“We’re so excited to give the broader school community a taste of the Get Fresh Café and build excitement and support for this initiative,” said Kim McGibbon, Program Coordinator for Roots to Harvest. “The Get Fresh Café is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration and the entire school has been behind it from the beginning.”
The Get Fresh Café is a collaboration between the Lakehead Public Schools, the CUPE union that runs the cafeterias, Foods and Nutrition classes, Roots to Harvest, Loudons Distribution and numerous local farms. The graphics and signs were all done with local graphic artist, Heather Cranston, and printed by Signs Now (Westgate CVI Alumni). It is truly a local and collaborative project.
“Providing healthy and fresh menu options for our students is a priority for our school,” said Coral Charlton, principal of Westgate CVI. “The Get Fresh Café has revitalized our school food culture and the opportunities for students and staff to build their food literacy through this model is tremendous.”