Tuesday, October 20, 2015

St Ignatius Visits the Garden and Food Lab

Last Tuesday we had our third Garden2Table event. A second, seventh grade class from St. Ignatius visited the Guelph Urban Organic Farm and then ended the day in the on campus food lab where they cooked with the produce that was harvested.

The students arrived bright and early in the morning and started the day off with a tour of the garden, led by the always wonderful and informative Danie. The class learned about what it means to be organic, the flow of water at the farm and composting.

The class then had the chance to harvest some fresh leeks. Some students had never seen a leek before, so they were very excited!

After harvesting leeks the students made their way to the potato patch where they got to get their hands dirty. Danie taught the class that when potatoes are exposed to sunlight they turn green and are no longer ideal to eat. The class then got to use a pitch fork and work together to harvest red skinned potatoes.

Next the class broke up into teams and worked on various  farm tasks which included sorting hot peppers, cleaning garlic, harvesting herbs and grading tomatoes. 

The grade seven students then made there way over to the food lab in MacDonald Institute which we used as a cooking facility to cook delicious food with the potatoes, leeks and herbs the students harvested early in the day. The class was split into nine groups, who were each paired with a volunteer to cook the recipes. Chef Geoff from Miijidaa, a newly opened restaurant in Guelph which showcases Canadian cuisine, was able to join us for the cooking session and help the students with their cooking skills. Chef Geoff showed the students which part of the leek was best to use in the soup and what part could be composted or used to make vegetable stock.  

The students first made a potato, leek soup, which contained onion, celery, potatoes, leeks, bacon as well as herbs and spices. They then made a honey granola recipe which utilized honey from the Honey Bee Research Centre on campus. The students were able to take the granola home to share with their families and friends. 

The students taste tested their potato leek soup and everyone agreed it was very delicious. We finished the day with a discussion on the importance of knowing where your food comes from. The students also agreed that cooking with fresh ingredients wasn't too difficult and they enjoyed making the recipes. A group photo was taken before St.Ignatius returned to their school. 

A huge thank you is extended to all of the volunteers that assisted with the event, Chef Geoff, Danie and the garden and of course St.Ignatius for coming out to this Garden2Table event. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

St. Ignatius Visits the Honey Bee Research Center

This Wednesday we had our second Garden2Table visit of the semester. Mr. Koledin’s class from grade 7 visited the Honey Bee Research Centre and had a chance to learn all about bee’s and honey.

The class arrived at the Honey Bee Research Centre at 10:30, and after a round of introductions they came inside to learn more about honeybees and the science behind how honey is made.



Paul Kelly, Research and Apiary Manager, Presenter Extraordinaire (and birthday boy!) taught the student’s about bee-hives, drones, trophallaxis and how bees find hives and make honey. Paul even did a demonstration of the “waggle dance” which forager bees do to share information with the rest of the colony about where the closest patch of flowers with pollen is.

Afterwards, the students headed outside so they could see the honeybees in action. The students made a quick stop to see the home of the  “honey monster” (you’ll have to visit the research centre to find out more).

First, Paul showed the students a smoker, which is a device used to calm down the bees who are protecting the hive. Then we walked over to the beehives where Paul used the smoker so he could pull out some of the hives so the students could see the bees close up.

The students were a little bit nervous around the bees at first, but by the end they were reaching in and sampling honey straight out of the hives themselves! They tasted how sweet and tasty the honey was straight from the hive Paul even picked a drone bee out and showed the students up close.

After a big thank you to Paul, we hopped back on the bus and made our way to the University where we used the honey to make a honey Dijon salad dressing with the students. They had a great time sampling the different dressings and learning about how to involve honey in cooking. The students had lots of great ideas on how we to cook with honey!

After we cleaned up, we talked with the students about the day, and then it was time to say goodbye! A big thank you goes out to Mr.Koledin at St.Ignatius, his wonderful students, and Paul at the research centre for making the day so fun!

Our next visit will be this coming Tuesday with St. Ignatius again!
We hope everyone has a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend!

- The Garden2Table 2015 team


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

St. John's Grade 5 Class Garden Visit

Yesterday we hosted our first garden visit of the school year. We were thrilled to welcome Ms. Cazzola's 5th grade class from St. John Catholic School. Though there was a little bit of a drizzle it didn't dampen the student's spirits and we had a wonderful day in the garden.

The day started with a tour of the garden led by Danie who is currently studying Organic Agriculture at UofG. Danie was very informative and showed us many plants the students had never seen before. As we passed the Kale plants Danie picked some and each student had the opportunity to taste it. We then made our way to the back fields of the farm. Danie explained that because this field was farther away and not visited as often deer like to come into the field and eat the plants. We learned that deer are afraid of shiny objects which is why there is a string of dangling tin foil around the field. There was also a giant scarecrow!

As we made our way back to the farm entrance, we stopped to pick some fresh raspberries which the students got to immediately eat. They were delicious!

After our lunch break Chef Steven led the class in making Honey and Fresh Herb Vinaigrette. We split into three groups and each group harvested some fresh herbs.  We harvested thyme, mint and parsley. Stephen used the fresh herbs and made a big batch of the dressing which we served to the students with organic veggies. Each student then had the opportunity to make their own dressing in a mason jar. They added all the ingredients and each got to choose which herbs to use. Then they got to shake them up!

The students also had a chance to eat some edible flowers!

We finished the day with a group photo and a discussion period. The class agreed that a lot of work goes into organic farming and that it is important to appreciate where food comes from! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Final Outreach - Salem Public School

We’re sad to say today was our final wrap-up outreach event at Salem Public School in Elora. We had the pleasure of joining two classes for our fun-packed nutrition workshops. We started off the morning in Ms. Carolyn Alexander’s grade 2/3 class. We were pleased to learn the children were very knowledgeable about Canada’s Food Guide and the Balanced Plate model. This allowed us to jump right into drawing the their own balanced plate which everyone had a lot of fun with! We found some pretty obscure plates containing combinations of lots of cucumbers, oranges, chicken, almond milk, peanut butter and crackers. 

Rebecca then lead a talk about local foods and what it means to eat local. We got some great answers about what foods aren’t local and the children came to the conclusion that tropical fruits usually aren’t local. It was great to learn that almost all of the children had a garden at home they helped their parents with. Our final activity was fruit and vegetable yoga, which is always a hit with the children. We learn to “be” the banana, peel the banana and be a growing carrot sprouting out of the ground. This is a great outlook for the children to get all their sillies out before their next class.  

At around 9:40am we moved to Kathleen Mcirr’s grade 1 class. It was a nice slowing of pace, working more closely with Canada’s Food Guide and what foods fit in each of the 5 categories. It was a great learning activity to show the children pictures of foods and help them work through which category they would fit in. The children were very excited to create their own balanced plate, which they could keep and take home. Before we had to leave, we created healthy eating pledges on small cut out leaves, which we taped on a tree. This created a growing tree of pledges for the children to make a pledge to themselves about eating healthier. We finished again with fruit and vegetable yoga and everything was wrapped up by about 11:00am.

We’re sad and excited to be wrapping up Garden 2 Table for this year. We know we’ve learned a lot over this year and hope we’ve made a difference to the youth in the community.  We have felt very fortunate to work with so many enthusiastic children in the garden, the cooking lab and in the community. Thanks to everyone who has supported us and followed our blog over the past two semesters!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rickson Ridge Outreach Day Grade 1/2

So we’ve been out of the picture for a while with the cold weather and Christmas break, but we’re back out in the city starting our outreach events!

This past Friday we were at Rickson Ridge Elementary School doing two nutrition workshops with some awesome children. In the morning, we were in Ms. Cloutier’s grade 1/2 class and after the nutrition break we went to Ms. McKenzie’s grade 1 class. The children were all very excited for our visit, possibly due to all the educational games we brought in! We started by talking about what healthy eating means and discussing Canada’s Food Guide.  Then we used the balanced plate model to engage the children in an activity of drawing to create their own balanced plate with favourite foods. Rebecca then created a talking circle to teach the children about local food and sustainability. This was a new topic for many of children and they were very interested about what food were local and which weren’t. This led us into a game of vegetable and fruit bingo, and when each food was called out the children answered whether the item was local.  The children were all very knowledgeable when we discussed energy dense versus empty food and played a game of  “Go, Slow, Woah.”  

To finish off our morning of fun, we had a series of four stations for the children to rotate though in groups and receive a puzzle piece to complete at the end of the stations. Station one was riddles with Rachael, solving some fun riddles related to different vegetable and fruit. Station three was spirit vegetable with Lindsay and myself, discussing if you were a vegetable, which one would you be? We had some pretty awesome answers such as: “A pea on a pod, because they’re just hanging out, like me and my friends!”  Then they were able to get their energy out at the vegetable/fruit yoga station with Steph getting creative with poses such as banana, peel the banana and banana split! The final station was creating a pledge about healthy eating on a leaf, which we then taped to a tree to create a growing tree of healthy eating goals!

Overall, the day was a huge success with everyone getting involved with engaging games and learning at the same time! One of the students learned that peanut butter could be in the middle of the other and meat and alternative food group. I know our team did some learning as well, we were surprised by how knowledge the group of students was! We can’t wait for our next outreach event!