While the rest of the world has been avidly watching Jamie Oliver challenge the concept of school dinners, and trying to figure out how to translate his ideas to their own kids’ schools, here in Toronto a catering company dedicated to providing children with healthy, nutritious meals has been going strong – and growing rapidly – for the past five years.
Real Food For Real Kids (RFRK) is the brainchild of David Farnell and his wife Lulu Cohen-Farnell. Shocked at what daycare centres were offering as snacks to their charges, the Farnells started sending their son Max to daycare with his own snacks and lunch because they wanted him to have healthy, tasty, nutritious food. The idea grew and RFRK now cooks up thousands of meals every day that are sent out to daycares, schools and camps across the GTA.
At a recent open house for care providers, staff from schools and daycares were invited into the RFRK kitchens for a tour and to sample some of the items on the new menu.
Normally, the north building of St. Lawrence Market is the focus of local food only on Saturday mornings as farmers and food producers fill tables with all things edible and Torontonians descend upon the place in search of tasty treats. This past Tuesday evening, the market building was a bastion of local food again as a number of chefs and wineries offered samples of their wares as part of An Evening of Local Cuisine, one of the many events put on by The Green Carpet Series.
What do a soy bean farmer, a nurse who runs a community garden, an activist working to stop toxic chemicals, an environmental architect and a food writer all have in common? We all shared a table at the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) conference this past Saturday.
With a theme of “Growing Up Organic”, the various presentations focussed on how organic food compared to conventionally grown food and how that might affect children’s health, as well as looking at the various organic food programmes in daycares and schools that were encouraging parents and teachers to choose and promote organics at home.
The event also featured the first ever “Organic Food Hero” awards, with honourees in various categories. For her series “Organic Goes Mainstream”, Jill Eisen of CBC Radio received the Organic Media Hero award. Chef Michael Stadtlander was a awarded the “Organic Supporter” award for his work championing organic food and farming. The Organic Organization Hero for this year was Anne Slater of the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Bread and Roses Café in Hamilton, Ontario won the award for Best Restaurant Serving Organic Food, and The Canadian Organic Growers Volunteer award went to Anne Macey.