Ecosource partnered with the Durham District School board and their cafeteria service provider, Chartwells (a division of Compass Canada), to deliver the Cafeteria Connects: Bringing Ontario Foods to Secondary School Cafeterias project which aims to provide food system education and opportunities to support local agriculture in Durham secondary schools.
The project's multi-stakeholder Strategy Committee created a the first-ever vision statement for their school board's food system emphasizing the need for more nutritious, appealing, and affordable food options, support for Ontario agriculture, and consideration of our food choices' environmental impact.
Harvest Days presented in the cafeteria for both students and staff celebrated an array of in-season Ontario products including apples and cranberries, butternut squash, turkey, mushrooms, asparagus, maple syrup and tofu. Recipe cards featuring Ontario farmers accompanied these delicious menu items. Workshops were delivered to 120 aspiring young chefs in hospitality classes to increase skills on cooking with local ingredients and knowledge of the food system. "The Big 6" purchasing strategy was established to ensure that carrots, apples, mushrooms, cooking onions, greenhouse red peppers, and greenhouse cucumbers ordered for the school board will consistently be sourced from Ontario farms.