Students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary lined up for their inaugural salad bar lunch Thursday morning at the school. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Valley secondary school salad bar launches at Isfeld

Although there isn’t a formal cafeteria in the school, students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary made a makeshift one in the lobby for the school’s inaugural Salad Bar Program.

Thursday morning, students lined up for the official launch – the first one for high schools in the Comox Valley.

“It’s really great … it’s amazing. A full pile (on their plates) with good food,” said salad bar co-ordinator Lauren Lan. “We all know how important good food is and I just think it’s really important that our students have access to healthy food on site so they don’t have to walk off site or they don’t have to settle for something out of a vending machine and that it’s accessible for all students.”

Lan, whose kids attended Ecole Robb Road School (which has a salad bar program) explained the salad bar was a hit with students. When her daughter shifted schools to Isfeld last year, Lan didn’t realize the school didn’t have a cafeteria and offered limited food options.

She attended the first PAC meeting in September 2018 where she presented the idea, and noted she has been working diligently since then for it to come to fruition.

She credited Farm to School BC, Farm to Cafeteria Canada, Rotary Club of Canada, Comox Valley Community Foundation and the tireless efforts of many dedicated parents to help make the salad bar a reality.

The cost of the program, which will run weekly every Thursday, is $4 per student or school member, but Lan explained they can subsidize the fee for anyone who wants to participate but needs assistance.

Grade 8 student Raeanna Holahan thinks the program is a good change of pace from the usual food that could be found around the school.

“They would have pizza or muffins, so I think having a salad bar is a nice change.”

Harry Panjer, representing the Rotary Club of Comox, which contributed to the program, said it was important to the club to fund the salad bar because food literacy, health and kids join together naturally.

“Healthy kids means healthy lives, better learning, better results overall. Kids are our future – this is really important.”

While this is the first high school in the Valley to adopt the program, Husband Park, Lake Trail Middle and Brooklyn Elementary also host a salad bar program. G.P. Vanier operates a cafeteria that offers healthy options.

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