NHCHC currently co-ordinates three community gardens and two children’s teaching gardens in the north end of Hamilton. The success and continued high demand for these programs has led to establishing a Community Greenhouse, which allows NHCHC to extend the growing season for their gardeners, improving access to fresh, organic produce well into the fall months, as well as create a space to start the seedlings that we provide to our gardeners at no cost. Additionally, the Community Greenhouse would enhance other existing programs – such as the Seniors’ and Multicultural Kitchens, Mental Wellness Toolkit, Children’s Grub Club, Healthy Moms Healthy Babies, etc., by providing opportunities for horticultural therapy activities and education about organic growing and eating.
NHCHC approached Niagara College for a partnership in establishing the greenhouse and assisting with the growth of fruits and vegetables to kick-start the various programs that they offer.
Students from the Greenhouse Crops 2 course had the ability to be a part of the greenhouse process from its initial inception. After it was successfully built, the students assisted with the growing of a variety of different fruits and vegetables, using an innovative Tower Garden Growing System which was purchased with the VEBTA funding. The students working on this project were given the opportunity to visit the greenhouse on a bi-weekly basis to track the progress of the growing and implement any changes.
Black Angus Meats is a Toronto-based company specializing in fresh game meat products. They have access to some of the most interesting, nutritious and tasty cuts available on the market. Black Angus faced the challenge of uptake from consumers from some of their retail cuts of wild game.
Students in the Culinary Innovation program were challenged to come up with a “Heat and Eat” concept that would demystify the cooking process for wild game and increase consumer acceptance. Students were encouraged to be creative with the recipes developed so that Black Angus could begin to implement them and start selling immediately.
Jal Gua is an instant powder super food created by former child soldier and international hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal. Jal Gua contains a blend of two staple African ingredients: Sorghum and Moringa, both which are packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatories. The powder can be used in several applications and mixes well in liquids and solids.
Jal Gua approached Niagara College for the development of easy to make recipes, which they can then advertise to existing and potential consumers. The recipes will be used as a selling tool to show the versatility of the product in several different applications.
Bunge is a leading agribusiness and food company globally, with operations stretching from the farm to the retail shelf. With constant innovations in food and agriculture, Bunge has a wide range of new products that go through extensive testing before being released.
Bunge is on the verge of releasing a lactose-free cream that can be used in a variety of different cooking applications. They approached Niagara College seeking assistance in recipe development and suggestions for this new product. The goal of the project was to understand how the product reacts in different applications while appealing to consumers with food restrictions.
Farmlife Foods is a local Niagara-based company, serving locally farm-raised chickens to the public. They specialize in selling fresh, bulk chickens at a competitive price. Farmlife Foods wanted to convert lower-value trim from their poultry processing operations into a high-value chicken sausage.
Using an open innovation approach, each student in the Culinary Innovation course prototyped the product, from which five final products were presented. The product will be going to co-manufacturing at a Welland area sausage manufacturer in Spring 2016.
Yorkshire Valley Farms had cuts of chicken for which they did not have recipes. They wanted to come up with recipes to use chicken so that they were not being wasteful, but did not have the knowledge or expertise to move forward.
With very specific criteria in mind (organic, small-mid-sized serving portions, healthy and quick to grab as a snack), students in the Modern Culinary Applications course were able provide recipes and ideas for the chicken products. Through a series of costing and recipe development, the students prepared and presented the chicken products to Yorkshire Valley Farms. The best products were selected and presented at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Yorkshire Valley Farms is committed to providing a range of organic, free-range poultry products that are both good for their consumers and kind to the environment. After a successful round of course-based projects in 2014-15, Yorkshire Valley Farms was interested in returning to Niagara College to access the new set of Culinary Innovation students for a similar project; this time the challenge was selling lower value turkey wings and drum sticks.
Students within the Culinary Innovation program were challenged to develop consumer-ready concepts that could be taken to co-manufacturing using the lower-value cuts. The students created recipes with the cuts of meat and presented Yorkshire Valley Farms with their ideas and concepts.