The Muskoday First Nation Community School will be incorporating more food-based education in the near future.
The community elementary school was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge. Rhonda Bear, a staff member at the school, said the goal of the challenge was to encourage grassroots initiatives to improve nutrition.
“It feels really good. I just like helping out our school anyway we can,” Bear said, noting the additional funding helps bring more programs to the students.
She said the school's application included ideas about creating more education around traditional feasts and the preparation and protocols which accompany them.
“Being First Nations, we want to put a bit of culture spin to it,” Bear said.
There are bison in Muskoday, which Bear said presents an opportunity for the children to learn about the animals, along with the traditional aspect of harvest and preparation before a community feast featuring the wild meat. She said she would like to see activities including the whole community, such as a fish fry at the school where the children could get an opportunity to catch their own food.
Bear said she would also like to see the grant support more after-school cooking and baking programs for all grades next year. She even approached her peers about using some of the funding for education around agriculture and self-sustainability by bringing gardens into classrooms.
“I'm hoping we can get that in next year,” Bear said.
Dairy was also covered in the school's request, according to Bear. The school serves dairy products in some of the prepared meals for students, and there is a milk program where the school children can purchase milk, but it's not always accessible.
“Some of these kids do not get milk during the day at home at all, so one of my wishes that I wrote in the grant was that I'd really like to see each child get a glass of milk a day from the school,” Bear said.
Nine other schools across the province were selected as winners of the Extreme School Makeover Challenge.
Among winners in central and northern Saskatchewan was La Ronge's Churchill Community High School. Their project highlights, according to a Saskatchewan School Boards Association press release, included constructing a wild game prep station and expanding existing garden and compost programs.
Île-à-la-Crosse's Rossignol Elementary School also earned $10,000 from the challenge. Their project included education about Métis culture and inclusion of traditional knowledge and the creation of an outdoor cooking facility.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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