Nu Steel Blog

September 29, 2014

Food = Community

Here at NuSteel we’ve been the lucky recipients of an Ontario Ministry of Education grant to provide healthy, nutritious food for our students.  We are in close proximity to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, so Tuesdays have become our market day.

Together as a group, students discuss what they’d like to include in their purchases for the week.  They divide the budget into three categories: meat and cheese, fruit and veggies, and bread.  We walk to the market as a group and then split up into teams to purchase the items on our list.  This week, students decided on french baguette with spicy salami and aged cheddar, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, raspberries, and grapes.

Because we are able to shop at the Farmer’s Market, students are learning about shopping locally, supporting small businesses, the importance of organic farming, and the moral responsibility of buying fair-trade, ecologically sound foods.  Students are also exposed to a variety of cultures and peoples at the market, thereby gaining a stronger sense of Hamilton’s diverse population.

The most exceptional aspect of taking part in this nutrition program is the sense of community we develop as a school when we prepare and eat meals together.  Students who may otherwise have nothing in common come together to discuss the food we are eating and the foods they like to make at home.  Students linger over lunch and experience the pleasure of enjoying a proper, balanced meal with friends.

We are very happy to be the recipients of this grant, and strongly recommend that schools across Hamilton look at their lunch practices and prioritize the opportunity for students and teachers to come together and break bread.  As schools get larger and student lives become more hectic, it is perhaps one of the best things school planners can do to maintain, or increase, students’ sense of community and belonging.