The Big Picture: Petit Chefs learn about food and farming

THE FARMERS FEED CITIES EVENT SERIES TAKES A SEAT AT THE KIDS’ TABLE

it’s no secret that the kid’s table is more fun than the boring conversation taking place across the room at the grown up table. With this in mind, Farmers Feed Cities has partnered with the Petits Chefs Academy for the next installment of their already successful Event Series.

“The series started with a formal dinner in downtown Toronto,” says Jenny Van Rooy, campaign coordinator with Farmers Feed Cities. “We then made our way to London for a more casual meal at Garlic’s restaurant and now we’re taking our seat at the kid’s table.”

This upcoming Family Day will see children and their families gathered in the kitchens of the Petits Chefs Academy to talk to farmers and make some delicious food with local ingredients. “We have a great line up planned for the kids,” says Van Rooy. “We have a grain farmer, egg farmer and vegetable farmer set to come in and speak to the families about their farms. Afterwards, everyone will get a chance to roll up their sleeves and make some tasty and nutritious food with ingredients grown close to home.”

a natural partnership
The Petits Chefs Academy is a cooking school specifically designed for children. “It’s an educational facility,” says Denise Livotti of the academy. Although they do provide a space for children’s parties, Livotti emphasizes that the main goal of the academy is education.

PHOTO: CHILDREN COOK UP DELICIOUS SNACKS AT THE PETITS CHEFS ACADEMY

For the academy, which is located near Vaughan, this will be the first time they’ve joined the food growing  and food cooking part of the value chain. “We’ve never had farmers into the academy before and we’re very excited,” says Livotti. “Nowadays, a lot of people in urban areas have lost contact with where their food comes from. I think it will be a good eye opener for not only the kids, but the parents too,” she says of the program.

The educational focus of the Petits Chefs Academy partners well with Farmers Feed Cities goals. “We’re committed to increasing the understanding of the value that farmers contribute to Ontario,” says Van Rooy. “This event will showcase this value at its most basic level: feeding Ontarians.”

Educating kids about farming in a fun, hands-on environment is a valuable opportunity. “These workshops will give children and their families a chance to talk with real farmers — something that people in urban areas don’t often get to do,” says Van Rooy.

Livotti of the Academy agrees and sees definite value in appealing to Ontario’s youngest demographic. “If we get kids interested from a young age, they will carry that with them throughout their lives,” she says.

Two workshops will be run on February 20, the Monday of the Family Day long weekend. Children aged six and up along with their families are welcome to sign up through the Petits Chefs Academy by calling 289-553-4445. •