North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Nov 24
Growing local food literacy at Cheakamus

By Cathy Jenkins, Project Manager at Cheakamus Centre, with contributions from Meryn Corkery, Farm to School BC

On October 22, 2021, 25 enthusiastic teachers from across the school district gathered at Cheakamus Centre for a professional development day focused on connecting to the land and local food systems.

Hosted by Farm to School BC as part of the Neighbourhood Food Collaborative Project, the day provided educators with a unique opportunity to deepen their connection to land and place and make curricular links through food systems concepts.

group at welcome post.jpg 

The day began with Cultural Educator Aura Lewis welcoming the group in front of the Longhouse Reconciliation House Post, which was carved by renowned Skwxwú7mesh Nation artist Xwlacktun. Aura offered a territory acknowledgement and shared that Cheakamus Centre is situated on land that has always been a place of learning for the Chʼiyámesh people, who for millennia have passed on their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.

The group was then led on a forest walk where Aura explained the traditional and culturally significant food and medicinal uses of many of the indigenous plants, including devil’s club, showering rush, and many berries. Aura highlighted the importance of building a relationship with the plants around us and observing these plants throughout the seasons.


Just as the skies began to open up, the group ducked out of the rain for a hands-on pickling workshop with Chef Wade. Participants made their own jar of pickles featuring pumpkin from the Cheakamus Centre gardens. Wade shared helpful tips on food safety protocols and ways to adapt the activity to learners of different age groups.

Lunch included bannock and Three Sisters soup, which featured a traditional agricultural practice of growing corn, beans and squash together that is common in several Indigenous communities in what is known today as Southern America and Eastern Canada. More information on the Three Sisters is available HERE.


The day wrapped up with a Learning Circle, led by Meryn Corkery, Vancouver Area Community Animator for Farm to School BC. It was a relaxed and friendly space to learn from each other and exchange what is currently happening around food literacy in our schools. Educators had a chance to brainstorm on integrating the learnings from the day into the classroom and finding ways to work through challenges.

NVSD Staff: Interested in receiving support to integrate food into the curriculum to meet the core competencies and curricular outcomes? Want to connect with other teachers and education assistants and be the first to know about new resources, funding opportunities and more? Join the Microsoft Teams Food Literacy channel HERE, using code z6uz9y8.

About the Organizer

Farm to School BC is a program of the Public Health Association and is supported by the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The Neighbourhood Food Collaborative is a partnership between Farm to School BC (Public Health Association of BC), North Vancouver School District, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the North Shore Table Matters Network (North Shore Neighbourhood House). Learn more about this project HERE.


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