During the BCAC AGM earlier this week, a luncheon speaker, Chef Trevor Randle spoke about how local school teaching kitchens are making great use of BC products as part of the school program.

Trevor is a high-school teacher who runs a teaching kitchen in the Maple Ridge Secondary School. It is one of about 60 in the province. He said it began with him wanting to buy a few pounds of blueberries from local growers. It has ended up with his and many of the other schools that have teaching kitchens developing a program that not only provides up to 1,400 nutritious, inexpensive meals to students, prepared by their own kitchen program, but is a program that is teaching kids what the range of local agricultural products in BC is, where and when it grows, how to cook it, how much better local and fresh produce is, and how to plan and prepare meals based on what is available at various times of the year.

The other pleasing thing to hear was that, as a result, these students are taking this knowledge home.

He mentioned that for some Vancouver students who have never even driven by a farm in their life let alone have any sense of where their food comes from, it has been a very enlightening experience.

It helps that much of the food for the program is donated by local growers. But, it has a payback. Chef Randle said that he continually gets calls from parents who want to know where this or that produce came from so they can buy it.

This was a very pleasing presentation to listen to. It offered a tangible example of how using the word "food" opens the doors to so many ways in which to directly link agriculture with everything else that has to do with food, and it tied farming directly to an important local outcome.

I don't know if there are teaching kitchens in schools throughout the province, but it might be well worthwhile to see of there is one in the region in which you live, and to see how you might be able to personally help make the same kind of link and show how what you grow can contribute to the health of your local community.