Victoria Farm Tours 2016
With the help and support of the Island Chefs’ Collaborative, Growing Chefs! has had the wonderful opportunity of bringing our Classroom Gardening and Cooking program to Vancouver Island. This spring was our fourth year on the island and we were able to offer our program to three Victoria elementary schools.
During the week of May 30th to June 3rd, 2016 all three Growing Chefs! classes in Victoria had the opportunity to go on an rural and urban farm tour thanks to the generosity of Meat and Bread, who covered the cost of the buses and provided a tasty lunch to students, volunteers, and staff.
All three classes started their tour at Roost Farm Bakery, a 10 acre farm located out in North Saanich. The students learned about growing, harvesting, storing, and milling wheat. They got to see the grapes and blueberries also growing on the farm. We got to look at the golden pheasant and all the chickens, and met a turkey named “Knobbie” who has quite a checkered past. Our host, Denise, arranged for a neighboring farm to bring over one of their horses and all the kids got a chance to help groom and pet the horse. One of the highlights of the tour was firing a rubber chicken out of the “chicken cannon” across the farmyard. Our trip to Roost wrapped up with a delicious cookie made with some of the wheat from the farm.
The next stop for the kids from Quadra Elementary was at the urban farm Topsoil. The kids were amazed by the huge variety of vegetables being grown and harvested for local restaurants. The highlights for the students were picking and eating their own baby carrots and learning about the zero emission methods the farm uses to deliver their just-picked produce. Our host Chris was a wealth of information on the growing practices used on the farm and hopes to work with Growing Chefs! in the future. The students were amazed that so much food could be grown in such little space. They were very proud to tell Chris about what they were doing to grow food in their own urban spaces!
The two classes from Victoira West Elementary stopped at Mason Street City Farm. Theirs is a market farm that is a more traditional farm but in an urban setting – and on just a quarter acre! They have beautiful ponds full of Koi and Goldfish. Our host, Steph, was a wealth of information which was a good thing as she had lots of questions to answer.
In true Growing Chefs! spirit all of the kids tried something new to eat when we visit Meat and Bread. There were lots of full tummies and happy faces as the kids headed back on the bus for the trip home!
We would like to thank all of the individuals and companies that helped make these amazing experiences possible for our students. Meat & Bread, Roost Farm Bakery, Topsoil, Mason Street City Farm, the P.A.C’s from Victoria West Elementary and Quadra Elementary, the bus drivers from Garden City Transport, our amazing teachers who bring us into their classrooms, and of course the fantastic volunteers that make the program possible. A HUGE SHOUT OUT to you all!
Chef Andrew Paumier
Growing Chefs! Program Assistant, Victoria & Island Chefs’ Collaborative Director