By Jean-Christophe Noël
$15,000 was awarded to the Paul-Germain-Ostiguy (PGO) school in Saint-Césaire to add a salad bar to the cafeteria menu.
The project will enable the school to be more eco-responsible. The goal is to promote access to and supply of Quebec food that promotes healthy, local and sustainable food in public schools. Serge Gobat, director of the PBL school, talks about a five-year plan of action adopted by the establishment that must be consistent with its environmental values.
In the coming months, students will have a new salad bar on the canteen menu. The school aims to make them aware of the benefits of healthy eating by involving them in the development, promotion and integration of the process of setting up a salad bar at school. Attention will also be paid to the importance of reducing their ecological footprint by promoting and promoting the use of local food resources. The school will therefore provide students and staff with an enhanced supply of fresh, local food, all in conjunction with the cafeteria service. Fried foods had been removed from the menu for several years.
A student committee is formed to contribute to the monitoring of the nutritional component. Équiterre, a non-profit organization, will guide the school throughout the project. Le Triangle du Gourmet, the school’s local food retailer, partnered with the school to make the project possible.
“It’s our culture and we want to have a positive contagion effect. —Serge Gobat
Next year, the PBL school will install three waste bins: one for paper and cardboard, one for recycling (plastic, metals, etc.) and one for general waste. Workshops will be offered in the classroom at the beginning of the year to raise awareness among students. A team of students guides the others who are wondering which container to use. The school will eventually compost, regreen and plant trees. She also wants to see the opportunity to plant seeds in the school, which she will resell to promote activities. The school has banned all plastic water bottles for the past four years. The water fountains have been adapted to allow students to fill their bottles. “The environment will play a primary role in our young people’s decision-making; their decisions. That’s what we want to pass on. It is our culture and we want to have a positive contagion effect,” concludes the director.
The salad counter project follows the announcement of Quebec’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), André Lamontagne. In partnership with M361, for this second edition, funding of $326,173 will be allocated to 22 additional schools, bringing the total number of schools supported to 56. This call for projects will allow 11,372 young people to benefit from healthy choices, either through a salad bar or cooking workshops.
This partnership is part of the Quebec Government’s National Strategy for Procurement of Quebec Foods (SNAAQ). The stated goal is that all public institutions in Quebec will adopt a purchase target for food from Quebec by the year 2025 and 85% of them will do so by the year 2023. More than 45% of the education, education and health institutions – and social services networks, ie 630 institutions out of 1,382 in these networks, aimed to purchase food products from Quebec by March 31, 2022.
Guided by the Lab22
Lab22 has been supporting the PBL school since the beginning of the school year. The organization challenges the population, especially young people, on various social and environmental issues to work with them to develop innovative responses aimed at generating positive and lasting transformations for communities.
Lab22 supports approximately 20 schools per year across Quebec. With the support of a multidisciplinary team, the organization guides schools, educational communities and students around a common project that strives for the sustainable transformation and empowerment of the school.