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Quebec schools innovate with salad bars!

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The nine Quebec schools awarded Farm to School grants have set up their salad bars and are nearly ready to get things rolling! To learn more about the salad bars in these primary and secondary schools, read on.

Salad bars: a closer look

The purpose of these salad bars is to increase the presence of healthful local food on the schools’ cafeteria menu – the end goal being to get students to load their plates with this brain-enhancing food!

In Quebec, five primary schools and four secondary schools are participating in this initiative, which also encompasses schools in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

École Saint-DenisÉcole Saint-Denis

The Quebec schools, located in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie, Montérégie and Estrie, each received a $10,000 grant, enabling them to purchase kitchen equipment and gardening tools, and to set up food-related activities such as cooking classes and educational farm outings.

The project is also training and supporting the school teams in creating healthful menus. In addition, Équiterre is providing each of the schools with personalized support, educational resources and training.

A popular project with many benefits

On the ground, the participating schools have been able to kill three birds with one stone: First, salad bar users can load up on delicious food! Second, the salad bars serve as a gateway to exploring a host of educational topics: gardening, composting, landfill diversion, combating wasteful practices, promoting consumption of imperfect-looking vegetables and so forth. Third, the schools appreciate the ties they have been able to forge with the local producers supplying them with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

According to research (1), salad bars improve students’ food literacy and increase not only their consumption of fruits and vegetables but also the diversity of the food they consume.

École Louis-de-FranceÉcole Louis-de-France

The nine schools at a glance

For a closer look at the projects of each of the participating schools, simply click on the links below.

Collège Servite École Secondaire – Ayer’s Cliff

From October to March, the Collège Servite salad bar is available to the 120 cafeteria-goers in this secondary school. And each student gets to use it for free once a month!

ÉcolACTion – Chicoutimi

The ÉcolAction salad bar offers fresh local produce from the Jardins de Sophie farm and other regional farms via the Coopérative de solidarité NORD-Bio.

École Saint-Denis – St-Denis-sur-Richelieu

At École Saint-Denis, students of all economic means can use the salad bar thanks to support from the Table de concertation St-Denis and/or CABVR (comptoir d’action bénévole de la Vallée du Richelieu), available to families who apply.

École Sainte-Flore – Shawinigan

École Sainte-Flore’s salad bar offerings will be prepared by the daycare kitchen staff once a week. To avoid wasting food, the staff will convert leftovers into soups, smoothies or frozen meals. What a great idea!

École Louis-de-France – Trois-Rivières

The salad bar at École Louis-de-France is available to all students for their lunchtime meal. But even better, students bring reusable containers to the cafeteria so as to avoid the need for single-use plastic. Neat eh?

École secondaire Chavigny – Trois-Rivières

The École Chavigny salad bar offerings come from several sources: the school grows vegetables, local farms supplement these with their harvests and the school’s food service sources Quebec products.

École secondaire de l’Escale – Asbestos

The École de l’Escale salad bar was set up by the Coopérative de solidarité alimentaire des Sources. It is available daily and is free of charge on Thursdays. It’s a big hit!

École secondaire Jean-Gauthier – Alma

Starting next year, École Jean-Gauthier’s salad bar will offer food from the fruit trees, bushes, edible plants and herbs in its forest garden.

Waterloo Elementary School – Waterloo

École Waterloo’s salad bar plays an educational role, developing students’ autonomy by encouraging them to help themselves to the various offerings.

(1) According to a recent study by Farm to Cafeteria Canada, in cooperation with the Whole Kids Foundation and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC. The study is entitled: ”Raising the Bar: A look at the early impact of the Farm to School Canada Grant”.