School gardens and food literacy programs

We believe in the power of hands-on experiences to motivate and inspire the youth we work with to help them feel empowered about their own health as it relates to healthy food choices, the food world around us and, and learning the practice of sustainable living in our environment.

Cultivating Cooks is a classroom based gardening and cooking program that connects students with local cooks, community gardeners and other local food producers. The overall goal is to get kids enthusiastic about “ all things green”- understanding how they too can become “green garden stewards” both at school and at home. Teachers are actively involved in the process and have an opportunity to partake alongside the students; learning about healthy food systems and sustainable food practices by engaging in hands-on activities.
School Gardens in Ottawa by Cultivating Cooks
Cultivating Cooks with fresh organic food grown in local schools
School Gardens Ottawa ON with Cultivating Cooks
Planting School Gardens in Ottawa Ontario with Cultivating Cooks

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School Food Programs

School Food Programs and Food Literacy in Ottawa

The Cultivating Cooks program allows students to understand more about where our food comes from, identify a wide variety of produce through taste testing and cooking,  learn why local food is important, and how to make healthy food choices. Students have an opportunity to tend to the school garden, help grow plants and crops and then cook with the foods they harvest. Farmers and Chefs have an opportunity to engage with the community in which they live and further support and encourage good food sustainability through these vital connections with schools, students and their families. Children learn and are inspired to grow their own food in their “ urban centre” and also create important connections with community leaders all the while having fun in the process.

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Food Literacy in Ottawa for healthy kids
Food Programs with healthy recipes to encourage healthy kids

School Gardens

Ottawa School Gardens programs for kids

Cultivating Cook’s 10 week food literacy program involves classroom connections that tie into health and science and highlight the following themes: Seeds & Planting, Roots & Shoots, Fruits and Vegetables, Waste & Compost, Bees & Pollinators, Garden Stewardship and Seed Saving.

School Gardens in Ottawa by Cultivating Cooks
School Gardens in Ottawa by Cultivating Cooks

Cooking Programs for Kids

Cooking Programs for Kids to support Food Literacy

 What Teachers are Saying about Cultivating Cooks:

“The Cultivating Cooks program has all the ingredients to create a successful learning experience for my students – it has the right blend of hands-on, practical activities about growing and nutrition alongside well-researched learning activities designed to help kids become conscious food consumers.

The students have learned so much from their interactions with the chefs, the dietician and the master gardener who have shared their expertise. The learning blends curriculum from science and healthy living with critical thinking and creativity to make good food choices.

I have immensely enjoyed this collaboration and would recommend this program to to any class. Cultivating Cooks activities have been springboards to many different conversations and connections in many different classes. Most of all, the students look forward to seeing our Cultivating Cooks friends every two weeks.”

                  – Mr. MacArthur Millen, Grade 5 Teacher, Woodroffe Public School

Cultivating Cooks School Food Literacy Initiative
Cultivating Cooks School Food Literacy & Cooking Programs

 What Students are Saying about Cultivating Cooks:

 “This year’s Cultivating Cooks has been amazing. I’ve learned how to cook and crop things properly and also have tried so many local foods I didn’t know existed. Cultivating Cooks is helping me eat healthier foods.”            

“In the Cultivating Cooks program we learned many ways to perfect our gardens. We constructed new beds for the school garden, a new compost system and learned how to properly compost. We learned how to make a healthy salad and eat whole foods” 

“The Cultivating Cooks Program – I could go on forever about how fun it is. The first thing we did was plant a ton of plants, and it was awesome. I loved it and I got to water them every day. We got to redo our garden and now we are learning how to properly compost. This was my favourite year because of Cultivating Cooks. They helped us understand the eco-system better.”

Ottawa School Food Programs Cultivate Young Cooks
Ottawa School Food Programs Cultivate Young Cooks
Cooking Programs for Kids Food Literacy by Cultivating Cooks
Cooking Programs for Kids Food Literacy by Cultivating Cooks

 

About Cultivating Cooks

We believe in the power of hands-on experiences to motivate and inspire the youth we work with to help them feel empowered about their own health as it relates to healthy food choices, the food world around us and, and learning the practice of sustainable living in our environment.

Cultivating Cooks is a hands-on classroom-based gardening and cooking program that connects students with local chefs, community gardeners and other local food producers. The overall goal is to get kids enthusiastic about “all things green”- understanding how they too can become “green garden stewards” both at school and at home. Teachers are actively involved in the process and have an opportunity to partake alongside the students; learning about healthy food systems and sustainable food practices by engaging in hands-on activities.

Cultivating Cooks Founding Team

Cultivating Cooks was created by Carley Schelck and Chef Anna March. Our team also encompasses a growing group of knowledgeable and enthusiastic cooks, farmers, gardeners, nutritionists and community leaders. By combining their food & education, experience and passion, both Anna and Carley have come together with a common vision to bring good food and garden stewardship into schools, inspiring students and engaging classrooms to take a ground up hands-on approach to experiential learning with growing food, cooking food, and the eco-system around us. 
School Food programs in Ottawa
Cultivating Cooks’ team of chefs, farmers,  and  Ottawa food literacy leaders
Cultivating Cooks Classroom Team
Cultivating Cooks Classroom Team
Cultivating Cooks School Programs for Kids
Cultivating Cooks team in action.

Meet Carley:

Living passionately with the attitude of ‘all things food’, Carley had always been inspired by the creativity and challenges the hospitality and food industry presents. Owner and operator of the urban element – a dynamic culinary studio in Ottawa that fosters a passionate team of food professionals who deliver exceptional, unique and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences in an inspiring environment. Upon becoming a mother herself, Carley recognized the need for more good food access in school settings. Carley operates and manages a “garden to cafeteria” program at Saint Paul University which helps bring from scratch seasonal products into a campus setting. Dedicated to the notion of lifelong learning, education has always remained at the forefront of Carley’s professional and personal path. Carley teaches in the Business Management and Entrepreneurship Program at Algonquin College and mentors graduates transitioning into the business world. Carley is a member of The Ottawa School Food Network, a coalition of like-minded individuals founded to motivate change and create impact on various school food initiatives. Carley’s passion for food and education is now realized fully with the launch of Cultivating Cooks.

Meet Anna:
Anna is thrilled to be a founding partner of Cultivating Cooks! Anna has been a chef by trade for over 10 years. Since completing the culinary program at Algonquin College, she has been honing her skills and developing her craft as a chef all across Canada. She has worked in celebrated restaurants in Ottawa, Montreal,and Vancouver and has returned home to the capital most recently as executive chef at Mariposa Farms as well as executive chef at The Urban Element. Drawing from her experiences working with local farmers, chefs and teaching the public hands on cooking classes, she is developing programming to promote food literacy anywhere she can.  With young children of her own she is sure that the need for good food education is greater than ever. She is eager to make positive change in the way kids eat and with the support of her colleagues, partners, community and family, you can expect to see her sharing her passion for real food across as many dinner tables in Ottawa as she can.