MRU’s Garden to Plate aims to raise food literacy awareness
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
An initiative from Mount Royal University (MRU) called Garden to Plate is helping children and their families learn how to grow and prepare their own food through collaborative classes and programs.
Led by MRU’s very own Dr. Lynne Lafave, Garden to Plate is an initiative that combats food deskilling and raises food literacy among families in Calgary. Food deskilling includes losing practices, agency and relationships to food.
“They are learning age-appropriate food preparation skills and then sharing the food as a community of learners,” Lafave said.
Learning takes place through 90-minute classes over a 12-week period. The families spend 45 minutes learning a nutrition program where the kids prepare food and another 45 minutes in the garden.
Garden to Plate started in 2019 through partnerships with CUPS, Safeway, Sobeys, and Calgary Co-op. Aside from the nutrition program, Garden to Plate also teaches families how to care for plants and vegetables in a garden. They also educate them on how to prepare, purchase and handle their food in a kitchen.
Dr. Sonya Jakubec, who is a professor in the school of Nursing and Midwifery and also works closely with Lafave, says families are being uplifted by this project.
“Literacy about food changed the family dynamics, empowering and inspiring the family.” Jackubec said.
Garden to Plate is also a research project. A research team working with the program is looking at how this project may help even more people. Jakubec mentions that the knowledge gained from Garden to Plate can be easily applied to other educational programs or activities.
MRU also has its own greenhouse in its main campus, on the 3rd floor of the B-wing. If the Garden to Plate project grows to include students, the greenhouse will likely serve as home to many plants and vegetables in the future.