By Jennifer Thurbide
On Oct. 25 students at Golden Learning Centre (GLC) sat down for a special lunch to celebrate the fall harvest.
During the lunch hour more than 70 students flooded the school gymnasium for a meal prepared and served by Transition Red Lake members which featured a special ingredient in the sauce – tomatoes grown by GLC staff and students.
“It took 17 tomato plans to grow the tomatoes for the sauce,” Chrissy St. Jean told the students gathered. “The tomatoes are completely organic, being fed the leftovers from the lunches that have been composted.”
St. Jean says in 2010 the school’s eco team had the “brilliant, mind boggling idea” of having an outdoor garden to grow things and ultimately expand into an outdoor learning space.
“What we put in our mouths directly affects the environment,” said the environmentalist. “Chemicals, pesticides, foods that have travelled half way around the world just to get to your table have a negative impact on our bodies and the environment. Voilá – a lunch that has logged very few miles, maybe just metres to get to your table.”
Along with the spaghetti and sauce, students were served a salad and whole wheat buns which were made from wheat berries that were ground the day before.
Principal Debra Geary congratulated the students on their successful efforts to grow a garden and provided a warm welcome to the servers who consisted of volunteers Todd Gallagher, Christine Penner-Polle, Donna Christofferson and Doug Grandt, a visiting enviro-activist from Texas.
The GLC Eco-team has been in operation since 2010 when they formed to prepare their first accreditation attempt as an Eco-School.
Library Technician Nancy Phillips says after achieving gold status for 2011 and 2012 the team is now focused on making it a “three-peat”.
“Our overall theme is ‘Respect’. We have a special focus this year on ‘respect for food – growing it, harvesting it, feeding ourselves in a healthy way that also keeps our planet healthy, too’. Secondly, our Outdoor Classroom is about to become a reality and we are thankful for and ‘respectful’ of the planning, work and very generous donations that are making that possible.”
GLC students will continue their harvest celebrations on Oct. 31 with games, raffles and events to be hosted as an internal school fundraiser.