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.