The future culinary artists of the valley are set for another educational advantage, as Slow Food Columbia Valley (the local movement) is helping chip away at the cost of a big item on the Chef Training Programs wishlist.

The Chef Training Program at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) is working toward the purchase of a commercial bread-baking oven. The school is currently equipped with ovens to bake bread, but the students passion for fresh food is outgrowing the existing arsenal.

What we want will have a stone floor and a nice even heat, said Fritz Reisle, assistant to Chef Training instructor Andrea Salzbrenner. Our current oven just doesnt give you a nice crust on the bread and to a bread connoisseur, the crust is the bread.

To make the new machinery a reality, significant fundraising efforts are first required. And with some big help from the local Slow Food Movement, $1,000 has been sliced off the bill. The money was raised through a local celebration for Terra Madre Day, which happens throughout the world each year on December 10th. Last month, the date was celebrated in the valley at DTSS. After a discussion and presentation about the movements mission, dozens of supporters had locally-produced meals prepared for them by students in the Chef Training Program.

This was a chance for our local slow food group to really come in and marry ourselves to what is happening with food culture, said Glenda Wah, treasurer for Slow Food Columbia Valley.

In each respective community, Terra Madre Day emphasizes the many benefits of eating fresh and locally produced food, while sharing and adopting ideas as the global movement continues to grow.

Its habit-building. If youre used to eating high-quality food, youre less likely to revert to McDonalds, Mr. Reisle said.

The valleys Slow Food ambassadors, Bill Swan and Spring Hawes, attended the movements headquarters in Italy last fall. What they experienced on their trip was the focus of the local Terra Madre celebration the Italians advanced integration of communal food networks.

As a real key part of building food culture in your community, it starts with family and in school, Mr. Swan said.

For a short period last year at DTSS, Mr. Reisle was absent, which required Ms. Salzbrenner to rely on store-bought bread for sandwich production.

And the sandwiches didnt sell; the bread sat, she said. When we order it, the students lose that appreciation of what goes into a nice quality bread. Making it from scratch,its a wonderful experience for them.

Which is why, of all the equipment they could wish for, a new oven is on the top of the list.

(The desire for a new oven) rises out of a passion for good bread. Everyone knows people from Invermere like good bread, Mr. Reisle said. And students really seem to thrive on baking homemade bread.

Ms. Salzbrenner hopes to bring the new oven in by the end of the next school year but the timeline is indefinite, and depends upon how good of a deal they attain on the equipment, as well as future fundraising success. Those looking to fasttrack the purchase can send a donation by contacting Ms. Salzbrenner at andrea.salzbrenner@sd6.bc.ca.

We cant thank the Slow Food Movement enough, this is wonderful, she said.