Growing Chefs! Ontario

1. Background of Charity

Growing Chefs! Ontario is a registered charity based in London, Ontario. They unite Chefs, growers, educators and community members in children's food education projects. They aim to change the way children, youth, families and the greater community learn about food. Our mission is to get kids excited about healthy, wholesome food.

For over 11 years, Growing Chefs! Ontario (GCO) has proven itself as the leading organization in Ontario in creating avenues for professional Chefs to get involved in our community and provide impactful hands-on cooking and food literacy programming for thousands of children, youth and families across London and surrounding areas, annually. By means of their programming, over 25,000 London and area children and youth have been given opportunities to explore healthy foods with their team.

2. How Charity has helped entrant:

This past school year, our school benefitted from the GCO school program. They visited our school twice, each time spending about an hour with each class for a very detailed lesson about various aspects of food that is age appropriate. The Chefs are very organized, engaging, friendly, and certainly have a good understanding of children. The lessons are very hands-on and engaging for the students, and include food literacy. The students in my class helped with chopping items for a salad with safe choppers, measured out ingredients for the dressing (Math), learned about seeds and matched them to vegetables and fruit (Science), and ate the “fruits of their labour” (Health). It encourages students to get a little bit out of their comfort zone and try foods they may never have eaten; the food was delicious. I cannot oversell how wonderful and educational this program is and would love to see every school in our region benefit from it.

3. Why Charity should receive a donation

A donation on behalf of the Lerner’s 90th Charitable Giveaway would go to support the School Food Education Project, which aims to get elementary school students excited about healthy food through grade-appropriate, interactive cooking and food literacy lessons with the GCO team. The School Food Education Project is comprised of four separate programs to ensure that any interested school has the opportunity to participate regardless of financial, social or logistical barriers. Each year the project reaches over 6,000 students across London and area. Lerners’ 90th funds would support food costs, equipment upkeep and project coordination.

4. Entrant connection to Sponsor:

I went to a teachers’ Professional Development session about Outdoor Education that was held at Growing Chefs! in London. It was the perfect setting as we were able to explore and learn about their outdoor vegetable garden, learned more about composting and red wrigglers, and had a hands-on experience of what they have children do in their school program. A colleague from another school raved about GCO that came to her school, so I immediately applied for our school to be a recipient. One year later, GCO came to visit us this past school year.

Monique

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