High school's healthy canteen scheme is expanding to feed local public schools

RIGHT IDEA: Canobolas High canteen and catering manager Andrew Farley with school vice-captain Matt Gray and captain Mac-Reith Snare. Photo: JUDE KEOGH0321jkcanteen1
RIGHT IDEA: Canobolas High canteen and catering manager Andrew Farley with school vice-captain Matt Gray and captain Mac-Reith Snare. Photo: JUDE KEOGH0321jkcanteen1

An Orange high school’s pioneering scheme to transform the canteen into a healthy food cafe is reaping rewards further afield.

It has begun providing food to small public schools in the Orange region with at least one looking to have a weekly service.

Since Andrew Farley left his job as a sous-chef at a leading Orange restaurant and took over the canteen at Canobolas Rural Technology High School in 2015 the results have been amazing.

Principal Kate Wootten said sales had increased and former sausage roll-loving students had switched to eating pasta salads.

It was recognised as one of three significant examples for other schools to follow when the state government launched its new healthy canteens policy last month.

Mrs Wootten said the Canteen On The Run scheme had provided up to 100 meals for pupils at Mullion Creek, Clergate and Nashdale public schools.

She said other schools, including Spring Terrace public school, were looking at making it a regular service.

“It gives the kids access to a school canteen that they don’t normally have,” she said.

Spring Terrace Public School principal Peter Scott said the school was considering using the Canteen on the Run service weekly for its 27 students.

He said the school would buy samples of the food for students to try and then ask the school community about entering the scheme.

“Our P&C run a canteen now but we are limited by the types of foods they can supply.

“It does look like a really good option because our kids would get healthy food.

“The opportunity to have fresh food would be pretty beneficial to the kids and to the school.”

He said the school would take orders every Thursday and a volunteer would collect it from Canobolas High on Friday before lunchtime.

Mrs Wootten said the canteen would also be catering for 800 teachers from regional schools at a staff development day on the first day of next term, April 24 – following a similar day last year.

The government produced a three-minute video on Mr Farley and the canteen which was distributed as part of its healthy-food push.

That video has now been edited to a shorter version for the Education Department Facebook page.

“We’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback through social media about it,” Mrs Wootten said.