Salads and Schools – The Perfect Mix for Health

March is nutrition month so what better time to profile some of the amazing work being done to promote healthier eating in BC. At BCAHL, we’re big proponents of health promoting schools. The Lake Kathlyn Elementary School Farm to School Salad Bar is a great example of how schools, together with farmers and other members of the community can work together to make healthier eating an easier choice for our children.

Warren Kluss, the principal at Lake Kathlyn Elementary School has a real passion for creating a healthy school and it shows. His dedication and enthusiasm for creating opportunities for healthier lifestyles for his students is contagious.

Participation in the Farm to School Salad Bar, led by Public Health Association of BC as part of the BCAHL’s Healthy Eating Strategy, was the cornerstone of a more comprehensive school health policy that Principal Warren implemented at the school. The salad bar is served twice a week and has a fee but all of the children at the school are welcomed to participate, even if they are not able to pay. And to encourage parents participation, children who’s parents volunteer to help with the program are offered a free trip to the salad bar.

Having healthy, locally grown (when possible) food in the school has created an interest in the students, not only for healthy eating, but also in how and where their food is grown and prepared.

Warren has also insisted on good table manners being used at the school, kids are encouraged to try everything that is offered at the salad bar, use their utensils properly, and to clean up after themselves. And nothing is wasted, unused salad bar veggies become soup the next time the salad bar runs.

The program has had its challenges in finding extra funding to make the kitchen 100% what they wanted and for allowing time for change to happen for the individual students, but the program has become a success through finding the right partnerships and standing behind its goals, and is nearly self-sufficient.

Lake Kathlyn Elementary has successfully partnered with the River Ridge Farm just west of Smithers to supply much of the fresh vegetables needed by the Salad Bar. This partnership is exactly what was envisioned when the program was introduced.

Results for the Salad Bar at Lake Kathlyn are more than encouraging – it is part of school-wide improved academics being tracked at the school. It is also a source of pride for the school, its students and their families. The program has a strong champion in Warren Kluss, and support from a dedicated coordinator, but it takes the whole school community coming together to really make it work.

For more information on the Farm to School Salad Bar program contact the Public Health Association of BC.

Samantha Hartley-Folz
Manager, Policy and Programs

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