Finding the best foods for your table

By David F. Rooney

The 22 kids in Laurie Henshaw’s Grade 4/5 class at Mountain View Elementary had a unique experience Thursday when they visited Cooper’s Foods for a Revelstoke Farm to Table Store Tour created by Hailey Ross, coordinator of the North Columbia Environmental Society.

The children were split into four groups and challenged to select fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and protein for a “climate-friendly lunch.”

Sounds easy, right?

The kids, though, took their task seriously especially when they were asked to consider the following questions:

  1. How far was the food transported to get to Revelstoke?
  2. How was the food grown? Was it the product of an industrial farm, a factory or an organic food operation?
  3. How much packaging encased the food product? (Students were encouraged to think about why there was so much packaging and where did it go afterwards?
  4. How much processing was involved in creating a food product? How can you tell it’s processed? The ore ingredients there are that are difficult to pronounce, the more processed it is!
  5. How many healthy ingredients are listed on the label? How many not-healthy ingredients are there?
  6. Can you think of healthy alternatives for the foods you considered?

Here are a few photos from this excellent and practical field trip:

Hailey Ross of the North Columbia Environmental Society (left) talks with Cooper's Manager Ben Harrack at the start of a visit to the store by the 22 student in Laurie Henshaw's class from Mountain View Elementary School. The kids were participating in a Farm to Table Store Tour sponsored by the NCES to teach kids how to create a climate-friendly lunch. David F. Rooney photo
How about those bananas? Should you get organic ones or non-organic? Selecting and eating the right kinds of foods is important to your health. David F. Rooney photo
Parent Lucie Robidoux talks with some of the kids about some of the other fruit on display at Cooper's. David F. Rooney photo
A couple of the boys select pears for lunch. David F. Rooney photo
There's a knack to picking a healthy juice. How much sugar does it contain? How much actual juice? Does it contain artificial colour or flavouring? The program encourages children to look at the labels and decide for themselves if foods and beverages are actually good for them. David F. Rooney photo
This ham doesn't have a lot of packaging, Miss Ross! The amount of packaging and a product's proximity to the place where it will be sold and consumed is important. Many, many foods are over-packaged and loaded with preservatives intended to extend their shelf lives. David F. Rooney photo
Look at the label! Is this highly processed? Is it real food or factory-produced? David F. Rooney photo
Given shelf after shelf of different kinds of peanut butter, some of the children try to determine which one would be best for them. David F. Rooney photo
Is this really cheese? David F. Rooney photo
At the conclusion of their field trip to the supermarket, Cooper's Manager Ben Harrack gave the kids bags of apples and posed with them for a group photo. David F. Rooney photo