Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OISE Internship with Real Food for Real Kids

This internship offered by Real Food for Real Kids is a good opportunity for teacher candidates in the intermediate and senior stream to explore the intermediate side of education through community food initiatives.

Teacher Candidate Internship Opportunity – May 2010

The Real Food for Real Kids (RFRK) Education Program is seeking Teacher Candidate interns to design, revise and implement a nutrition and healthy living education program for elementary schools in the GTA.
RFRK is a Canadian company based in Toronto.

RFRK’s mission is to change the way Canadian children eat and perceive food and help children re-connect with real food and its origin. Our aim is to instill life long healthy eating habits and help children develop a taste for delicious healthy food.
Real Food for Real Kids believes that it is the right of every child to be healthy and have access to nutritious food.

The overall project involves working collaboratively with education professionals, health professionals, local food proprietors, wellness consultants, entrepreneurs and the Real Food for Real Kids School Director. Together, the team will revise and implement the first draft of the comprehensive, 10 month nutrition education program, for children participating in Real Food Lunch Clubs, in elementary schools across the GTA.

We are looking for candidates who:
• Are passionate about improving school lunches and the health of
Canadian children
• Have developed lesson plans which integrate healthy eating with
the Ontario elementary curriculum
• Enjoy and excel working in groups
• Take initiative and can manage large tasks independently
• Approach lesson planning in creative and integrated ways
• Can read and write in French, (preferred but not mandatory)
• Have had previous experience working in Elementary schools

Interested Teacher Candidates should submit a resume and letter of
interest to, by January 10th, 2010. For additional
information, please contact or 416 410 5437 x 118.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lesson Plan - Local Food and Rationing during WWII

Unit: Canada in World War Two – Grade 10 Academic

Lesson Plan By: Jaclyn Cepler

Lesson Title: Social Conditions on the Homefront

Purpose of the Lesson: Students will understand that during WWII the government took an unprecedented amount of control over the daily lives of its citizens. Students will explore government control in their lives in comparison to the lives of those living on the homefront during WWII. Rationing specifically applied to anything that had to be imported. In a way, the Canadian government was promoting the first ever “local food” program.

Expectations: Students will be able to:

- recognize the extent of government control on the daily lives of its citizens

- make connections to previous lessons on propaganda and think critically about how it impacted life on the homefront and the mindset towards rationing

- recognize the hardships of those on the homefront in Canada


- informal through responses to Q/A and brainstorming session

Planning Notes/Resources:

- need computer/projector to show national film board clip from:

- need to print ration books for everyone in the class; many examples are found on:

Prior Knowledge:

- already had propaganda lesson where made posters to understand how propaganda was created and how it was effective

- this lesson is half-way through unit on WWII so students have knowledge about the progress of the war, causes, and battles

Teaching / Learning Tasks Duration

Beginning Q and A leading to idea of rationing: 15 minutes

- what types of commodities do you need to survive (add word to vocabulary sheet)

- what items are purchased on a regular basis to ensure survival? (make brief list on board)

- today, what do you do if one of those runs out?

- On the homefront, in Canada, during WWII which of these were the most important?

- What would you do if you couldn’t buy more?

- Food: How would you modify your habits so that you wouldn’t be dependent on foreign imports?

Introduce concept of rationing, what was rationed, what it means, CD Howe, Wartime Prices and Trade Board (brief introduction) 10 min

Discuss how rationing was a form of eating local

Hand out ration cards to students (all receive cards with different people’s names)

Q and A 10-15 min

- what do you see on the card?

- Take 30 seconds to compare your card with your neighbour, what is similar and different between them?

- What do these differences/similarities tell us about age, region and duration of rationing?

- Who controlled what was rationed and when? – what is this an example of?

- What might the implications have been for ration books during the war?

- What does this show about what Canada expected from its citizens at this time?

- What are some of the ways the government may have justified and explaining rationing to its citizens? What is this called?

Play example of propaganda film: “Tomorrow’s World” from National Film Board movies during the war (specifically addresses rationing) 10 min

- while watching the movie consider: how would you react if strict authority was imposed upon your daily needs?

- Why were these films effective?

After film: in pairs share answers to the questions 3-5 min

Class discussion sharing answers from pairs 3-5 min

In groups of 4: brainstorm some of the positive and negative aspects of government control in WWII

10 min

- divide class into groups: students stand on different sides of the room if they think rationing is positive or negative or necessary

- each position discusses among the group about why they think so, present their side

- each group answers the question:

o would similar actions be accepted in today’s society? Why or why not?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Pasta Recipe

This dish seems like a pasta, but is made completely out of vegetables!

2 tsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cup canned, ready cut tomatoes
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash strands
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt

To make spaghetti squash:
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a microwave safe dish
add 1/3 cup of water and cover with plastic wrap.
Microwave on high for 15 minutes or until tender
Drain and cool
With a fork, remove all the strands and place them in a serving dish

To make the sauce:
In a large skillet heat oil. Saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
Stir in tomatoes, parsley and seasons, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Pour sauce over cooked spaghetti squash.

Bean and Barley Salad

This is a yummy, lime-y, cumin-y, hearty, easy, and many other wonderful y-y salad! Despite the fact that I had to go to the grocery store, make a list of what was local, come home, find a recipe, and then head back to the grocery store to buy the ingredients, I still enjoyed this multitextured, super-hearty meal. It's from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

1.5 c corn
1 c black eyed peas
1/2 pearl barley
1.5 c red kidney beans
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 teasponn red pepper flakes
1/3 c chopped parsley
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes, zest and juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Cook corn for a minute, cool
Cook barley in water with 1/2 teaspoon salt until chewy (about 40 minutes), drain, cool
Mix green pepper, pepper flakes, parsley, and onion
In a shallow see-through container, layer the corn, black eyed peas, barley, kidney beans with the green pepper mixture layered between each layer.

For the dressing:

Whisk oil, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour over salad. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Toss gently before serving.

A recipe for the marinated broccoli salad (approximations welcome - I am intuitive when in the kitchen)

1 bunch of broccoli, cut into flowerettes
half a red onion, cut how you like it
a good amount of feta cheese (1 pkg)
sunflower seeds (1/4 cup or so)
raisins (if you like them)


1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 mayonaise
tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
tbsp lemon juice
clove of garlic, minced
salt, pepper
a bit of sugar or honey

(all amounts are approximate, depending on how big of a salad you have made)

steam broccoli until still nicely crunchy

julienne the rest of the veg. and put with the broccoli in a big bowl. Add diced feta and sunflower seeds

whisk dressing together, starting with sugar or honey and the acids, til dissolved
i used about half yogurt, half mayo, but again this is to taste. add dressing to veg, and toss.

Let marinate for a couple of hours at least, best overnight.

Voila, a hearty and yummy salad! Feel free to add or subtract veg, depending on personal taste. Also, you could use pecans or almonds for example, instead of sunflower seeds. You get the idea.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Connect Farm Seminar - Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who attended tonight's Connect Farm Seminar, especially to the wonderful panel of speakers whose insightful information motivated, inspired, and entertained us!

After the event, one participant said "It was great! I feel so much better about the world now, and so much worse about my eating habits!"

Emily VanHalem - FoodShare, Karen Campbell - Everdale Farm, Angie Koch - Fertile Grounds.

The panel featured guests from as far away as Wiarton, ON and as nearby as Dufferin and Bloor Street. Participants learned about how they can use organizations resources such as Everdale Farm's "Farmer for a Day" program and Food Share's "Field to Table Schools" initiative. We heard first hand accounts of the trials and tribulations of being a small-scale local distribution fisherman from the Akiwenzie Family (Andrew, Natasha and their three boys), and the similar struggles (and joys!) of being a small organic farmer from Angie Koch of Fertile Grounds. Arlene Stien from Hart House shared information about the University of Toronto's food service contracts (which have a mandate to source 25% of their produce locally), and Kristin Schroeder from Real Food For Real Kids told us about how similar mandates can be worked into the elementary system, but that there is much work to be done in order to make headway into the Secondary Schools cafeteria menus.

Finally, we finished off the evening with a local potluck dinner. During this time, we had the opportunity to get some feedback from our classmates and from our presenters, and the response was very positive. Many of the presenters were grateful for the chance to spread the word about their programs, and expressed the need for more opportunities such as this. As Emily VanHalem from Food Share pointed out, having informed teachers will go a long way towards making real changes in the education system, from curriculum that implements learning about food systems to changing school lunch programs and reconnecting kids to the earth. Karen Campbell from Everdale Farm echoed this opinion saying that hopefully through programs like this we can create a small army of advocates that will help re-educate Ontario's youth about food.

So now, it's up to us to continue to advocate for fresh, local produce in our schools and to promote education that incorporates learning about food -- whether it be food budgeting in Math class, nutrition in Phys. Ed., or cooking in Home Economics. As teachers, education about the economic, health and environmental benefits of supporting locally grown (or caught!) food is an important aspect of our careers that should not be overlooked.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Large Black Pigs. Yum!

A few weeks ago I heard about an amazing woman named Barbara Schaffer who, after being laid off from her business suit-y job, started her own farm without ever having any farm experience whatsoever! Amazing! I've always dreamed of doing this kind of thing, but I've never had the wherewithal to do it. There's a wonderful podcast/documentary about her called "The Philosophy of Pig", produced by Neil Morrison. The documentary, which aired on CBC's "The Current," features an interview with Schaffer and insight into her decision to start her own farm. It's a wonderful documentary about one woman's difficult, heartwarming, and sometimes hilarious foray into farming.

Schaffer farms pigs; Large Black Pigs to be exact. Large Black Pigs are a breed of livestock that is endangered. They make yummy meat but they grow so big that they take too long to grow. Big commercial farms can't make enough money when pigs take too long to grow, so these pigs are starting to disappear. The CBC says that "the great diversity of livestock is disappearing at an alarming rate around the world. The United Nations estimates that one third of farm animal breeds are facing extinction" ( In the documentary, Schaffer describes her work as an environmental policy advisor in Ottawa and even though she no longer works for the environment, she feels she's doing more for the environment by running a farm.

It is this kind of sentiment that keeps me hopeful. I understand that it's difficult to make money when you're driven by the need to produce produce produce in this consumerist world, but the itty bitty scientist at the heart of me is worried about losing all these species of livestock. I'm worried because the loss of genetic diversity can lead to real problems. If we lose the Large Black Pig, we may be losing more than just a type of hog, we may be losing the ability to adapt to a quickly changing climate. Adaptability is what keeps us alive and adaptability depends on a diverse gene pool. It's about more than just fluffy feelings - it's about the right thing to do for a variety of reasons.