A student at the South Canoe Outdoor Learning School prepares to sip on a hot cup of tea in last year’s Kindie Buddies program which teaches children about food and table etiquette. (Photo submitted)

South Canoe Outdoor Learning School in need of food-savvy volunteers

The Kindie Buddies program needs more volunteers to educate students about food

The South Canoe Outdoor Learning School is in search of volunteers to help with a program that teaches students about food production and etiquette.

Last year the Kindie Buddies program went through its pilot phase and is now back by popular demand with some revisions. The previous iteration of the program was largely focused on engaging seniors to work with the students and impart their food wisdom to the kids. Although the idea did alleviate some of the loneliness experienced by some of the seniors, other challenges arose.

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Due to scheduling and transportation issues, the Kindie Buddies program coordinator, Melanie Bennett, is expanding the age range.

“This year we are broadening our scope of volunteers. We are really searching for adults. Adult figures, other than immediate family who are passionate about this next generation learning about food,” Bennett said. “We want to have a large group of volunteers so that nobody feels like that have to be there every week.”

The program will run on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., starting in October and will run until winter break. It was initiated by Serena Caner, dietician and president of Shuswap Food Action Society, who came up with the program concept and organized initial funding. Additional funding for the program has come from the Samaritan Children’s Foundation.

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Earlier this year the school won the top runner-up prize of BCAA Play Here challenge worth $30,000. The challenge’s top prize of $100,000 would have comfortably funded a renovation of the school’s kitchen to allow for more students to learn in a bigger area. The optimal allocation of prize money that was won is still being determined.

In the program children will learn where their food comes from along with food preparation, basic cooking techniques along with some basic knife skills.

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“We try and use what is in season,” Bennett said. “We are going to go to a local garden and we can pull up some carrots and pick some apples from the trees, maybe some beets, whatever is available in the garden.”

Bennett said her goal this year is to have the students try foods first in their raw state and then transform those raw ingredients into a greater product – raw carrots for carrot soup and zucchinis for zucchini muffins.

For more info or to become a volunteer, contact Melanie Bennett at secretary@shuswapfood.ca.


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