Making Great Kids School Lunches: An elementary school in Toronto steps up to the plate

Most of my posts on school lunches are from France, as part of my ongoing French Kids School Lunch Project. But every once in a while I come across a great school menu in North America…and I always love sharing these. It’s so inspiring to read about families and communities that have come together to create great meals for their kids.

A friend in Toronto recently told me about a great lunch program being run at Fern Avenue Elementary, in the Parkdale/Roncesvalles neighborhood.

The school-wide lunch program is a not-for-profit collaborative effort between the school and the on-site daycare, supported by parent volunteers. Meals are prepared by Chef Maggie in an on-site kitchen, and provided to both students at the school and daycare. Children must purchase a minimum of one month of lunches, which cost $90 (or $80 for those purchasing 3 months or more), which works out to about $4.25 per meal. Produce is bought locally wherever possible, and you’ll see from January’s lunch menu that the meals sound super-tasty and healthy. Fresh fruit, salad (or other vegetables), bread (or a starch), and milk are served at every meal, in addition to the main course. Subsidies are available for low-income families (important in this traditionally working class but now gentrifying neighborhood).

My favorite lunch menu of the month:

Chickpea and pasta soup
Cream cheese on a bagel
Cucumber
Banana

All of the menus sound good; balanced, tasty, with a little bit of kid appeal. And I love their motto: Healthy Food, Healthy School, Healthy Community! If only we had something like that at my daughter’s school in Vancouver…but that’s another story.

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