École de Sutton School launches fundraising campaign for a kitchen makeover

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

École de Sutton School is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to upgrade its kitchen space to support the school’s culinary activities and their goal in promoting healthy eating habits among its students. Last year, École de Sutton School received a grant from 100 Degrés, an organization that provides financial support to projects that promote a healthy lifestyle, to get students in the kitchen and to educate them on nutrition and healthy heating. With the need for new equipment and appliances to ensure the project’s success, École de Sutton School is reaching out to the community in hopes to reach its financial goal of $10,000.

“Last year, we received a grant from 100 Degrés to do culinary activities and stuff like that. We also received a $15,000 grant to rethink our nutrition, healthy eating and using local products in our cafeteria,” said principal Donald Kerr.

The school recently hired a new chef, who owned a vegan restaurant in the Sutton village, who helped restructure its menu with healthy options and wanted to be heavily involved in encouraging, and educating, students to adopt healthy eating habits. “We are focusing on local products and organic products when possible so that everything from the protein, to the vegetables, and the dairy stay as local as possible. She is also adding her own touch with more vegetarian and vegan meals. The kids get to try a lot of different things that weren’t necessarily there before. We can offer more so that they develop a palate and a desire to want to keep eating healthy foods.”

In order to support its culinary activities and initiatives however, the kitchen/cafeteria space needs a makeover. “It is an old kitchen and a lot of appliances are old are dying on us. We are looking to refresh materials and equipment for the cafeteria so that we can keep going with our goal to change the eating habits and to offer a healthy menu to the kids. Last summer we bought a 10×10 cold room where we can store local products from local vendors. Sutton has a lot of farmers who grow organic vegetables and products that we can buy in bigger quantity now and store.”

New counters, a new sink, expanding the space, a new freezer, and a stove are all on the menu. “A lot the appliances are ready to go and they could go at any moment and we could be stuck.”

The school’s culinary activities make up an important aspect of its students learning. “We’re developing interest so it’s allowing them to go home with something and to create a bit of discussion. Like oh we had brussel sprouts today at school; not all kids enjoy that type of food at home. If they experience it at school in a different way, they are more likely to bring it home and maybe entice parents to go that route and try something new too.”

The culinary activities vary with the seasons and take place throughout the school year. “Last spring, we did a salad activity, a salad in a jar basically. Students had a mason jar they put their own vegetables in and they made their own dressing as well so they were able to bring that home. In the fall, we did an apple-themed activity where they made stuffed apples, a dessert treat. We were doing new things besides apple crisp so that was a hit. Then in the fall we did squash and pumpkin activities and we made squash jelly. It was delicious and the whole goal is to make them try new things.”

The school also has a greenhouse and a garden that students are involved in, all in alignment with eating healthy and eating local. “We are teaching kids, developing skills and interests, and bringing it home as well. It’s a great learning process.”

A committee of volunteer parents and the school’s chef are involved in coordinating the activities. “We have a committee of very experienced parents that are out there looking to apply for grants and helping us out in that way. It’s great. It’s another strength of the school that our community is involved and willing to help out.”

École de Sutton School is using the Ulule platform for its fundraising and with every donation of 50$. the person gets a $10 gift card of the business of their choice that the school is partnered with.
Its goal is $10,000 and they are already more than halfway there.

“We are really happy with the progress, but it’s not like a GoFundMe. You do have to reach your goal to receive the money. That is the only scary part right now so we really want to meet our goal.”

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