Photos (Source: Comox Valley Schools): (Top) Lauren Lan, a parent volunteer instrumental in bringing a salad bar program to the Mark R. Isfeld by securing funding through grants from several community and national donors, celebrates a successful launch with Sean Lamoureux, principal. (Bottom) Comox Valley Community Foundation director Russell Tibbles, (CVCF) president Matt Beckett and Harry Panjer, representing Rotary Club of Comox, joined staff and students for the inaugural lunch and enjoyed a nutritious plate of wholesome food.
Students were in for a sweet treat in February and it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day but all to do with taking care of the heart. A Salad Bar lunch program launched at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary on February 21st making it the first high school in the Comox Valley school district to initiate a nutritious lunch program of any kind. The program came to fruition through a collaborative effort between parents, school principal, and community service clubs, all with the goal of increasing food literacy in public education.
Sean Lamoureux, School Principal, said he wants his students to learn the value of foods that are equally good in taste as they are in nutrition. “We want healthy kids and we don’t need a whole lot of literature to know that better food options lead to better learners,” shared Lamoureux. “My goal is for my students to appreciate a chickpea because they tasted it and experienced it in a salad offered right here in this school.”
Building on other school salad bar programs that have been successfully running at other district schools for a few years including Lake Trail Middle, Huband Park, Ecole Robb Road, and Brooklyn. Isfeld will operate their program somewhat uniquely in that students in culinary classes can participate in the prep work alleviating the workload on parent volunteers who will oversee the lunch program. The program is made possible through generous donations from the Comox Valley Community Foundation, the Rotary Club of Comox, Farm to School, and Farm to School Canada.
The salad bar is available weekly each Thursday for a cost of $4.00 a plate. But as Lamoureux emphasised, it isn’t just any plate. “Kids can load it up with lettuce, corn, fresh veggies, beans, guacamole, whatever they like,” said Lamoureux. “There’ll be plenty to choose from and there’s nothing I like more than to see students with an overflowing plate of salad.”
Each week the salad bar will offer a wide assortment of vegetables sourced locally as the seasons permit. At least two protein options (eggs, cheese, seeds, beans) and one carbohydrate such as whole grain buns, pita, wraps, or potatoes. The parent volunteer committee hopes to incorporate themes like Mexican and Asian from week to add variety. There will also be options for gluten sensitivity/intolerance.
Comox Valley Schools are a learning community that embraces diversity, honors relationships and prepares all learners for a changing world. A core element of our vision is inclusive and responsive community engagement between the Board of Education and our public education partners.