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Slow Cookers for Kids

Photo Credit Enactus SLC 2

Originally appears in the Fall 2015 issue

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
– Chinese Proverb.

LAST YEAR, college students in Kingston Ontario took this proverb to heart and decided to address the  issue that too few kids know how to cook or what food to buy. After helping their fellow students to stretch their limited food budgets, they created valuable teaching and learning moments for hundreds of middle school students in our school district.

After learning that most provincial social assistance programs for post-secondary students allocate only $7.49 a day for food, a team of student leaders from St. Lawrence College committed themselves to address this gap via the power of entrepreneurial action, while also boosting local food sustainability and literacy. Operating as a campus chapter of Enactus, an international student organization, they organized seminars to help students eat healthfully on the tightest of budgets. Entitled “Food Cents”, these seminars soon morphed into Recipes for an Empty Wallet, a recipe book that is available for free online in both English and French editions.

The Enactus students next approached the Limestone District School Board to see if Recipes for an Empty Wallet could benefit Grade 7-8 students. Recognizing its value, Board staff worked with the student leaders to further enhance the recipe book. In the process, they decided to create a more specific program that would provide each Grade 7-8 student with three days of instruction by a St. Lawrence College chef and culinary arts students, a copy of Recipes for an Empty Wallet and a slow cooker. The intent of the program was to teach young students cooking and budgeting skills – skills that are currently not addressed by most curricula. It is my hope that the following details will inspire
others to create similar programs in their own communities.

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Dan Hendry is the Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator at the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ontario. While studying for his Masters at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, he studied under Dr. Karl Henrik Robèrt, the founder of the Natural Step. Dan is an active volunteer with both TVCOGECO and the Canadian Red Cross’ Disaster Management Team in Kingston. Though a variety of people and organisations contributed resources, skills and time, he would like to thank Chef Thomas Elia, Jason Quenneville, Enactus SLC, the Limestone District School Board, Brown’s Dining Solutions, and Canadian Tire.

Notes
1. Recipes for an Empty Wallet. English: http://enactusslc.ca/wp-content/ uploa d s/2014/10/2014_09_10 – cook-book-f nal-ENGLISH-website.pd f
French: http://enactusslc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/006_042_FCENTS- CookBook-FRENCH-full.pdf