The Growing Chefs program is a fantastic initiative for students in grades one to seven to learn about and engage with the food cycle, get hands-on experience cooking their own food, and support urban agriculture and growth. Volunteer chefs dedicate their time to give kids in communities across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island the opportunity to plant their own seeds, harvest their own vegetables and learn basic cooking skills in a fun and dynamic educational environment.
Drew’s Catering & Events founder and head chef Drew Munro has been involved with the organization for two years. Last month, he took the time to lead two classes of grade three and four students at Vancouver’s Graham Bruce Elementary School. The students learned about the science of the plant growing process, with hands-on activities that help them grasp concepts and engage with the material more easily.
“The Growing Chefs program is experiential so the students get to learn in a hands-on environment with chefs who are working in the field. We bring in healthy foods that the students can cook with and try. Some of the students are new to Canada so it’s a fun new experience for them,” Drew explains. “The newcomer students also get the chance to try vegetables they may have seen before but never tasted.”
Students enrolled in the Growing Chefs program also learn about healthy eating habits, sustainable food practices and plant-based recipes. Students grow and harvest their own vegetables, which they then prepare with the help of volunteer chefs like Drew. The program runs every two weeks, giving kids the opportunity to tend to their vegetables and regularly show their progress to their chef teachers.
“The students are very proud of the vegetables that they’ve grown and the progress that they’ve made,” says Drew. “ They then harvest the vegetables they’ve planted and grown and the chefs help them prepare the vegetables into meals so that the kids learn that vegetables don’t just have to be bought in the grocery store. They can be grown at home and can even be grown in a balcony or inside in a classroom. I think that’s the most empowering aspect of the program.”
Growing Chefs has helped grow 368 gardens and equipped 9000 students with the skills to grow their own food and cook. Get in touch and learn how you or your children can get involved with this wonderful organization.