FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2015
A new grant program will deliver $500,000 to schools in British Columbia and Ontario to get more healthy local foods on the minds, on the plates, and in the mouths of students.
Montreal, QC – Speaking to a crowd of 400 school food change-makers in Montreal at Changing the Menu Canada’s First National School Food conference – Farm to Cafeteria Canada and Whole Kids Foundation announce a new Farm to School grant program that will to deliver $500,000 to schools in Ontario and British Columbia. These grants valued at up to $10,000 will bring the harvest to schools – engaging students and community in gardening, cooking, preserving, purchasing and serving healthy local foods at school.
“Farm to Cafeteria Canada is thrilled to partner with Whole Kids Foundation to deliver these grants”, says Joanne Bays, National Manager Farm to Cafeteria Canada. “There is a food revolution afoot in Canadian schools. Parents, teachers, students, and food service workers are clamouring for a fresh local crunch in school lunch and local farmers and fishers are eager to deliver. We are excited about opportunity to continue to seed, feed, and watch this movement grow!”, says Bays.
“The opportunity to create significant improvement in the access to fresh, healthy vegetables available to children at school is truly at the heart of our work,” said Kim Herrington, School Programs Director for Whole Kids Foundation. “The chance to offer support for school gardens, nutrition education, and advocacy training along with a salad bar that empowers student choice is a comprehensive approach to healthier school environments!”, says Herrington.
Connecting schools to farms and children to their food is a simple idea that has inspired the spread of Farm to School activity across Canada. Gardens, farms, and farmers markets have sprung up on school grounds. Local food delivery trucks are appearing at school loading docks. Fresh local foods are being dished up in school snack and meal programs Why? Because Farm to school offers great potential to address two of the major challenges of our society: concern about the diet and health of our school children, and concern about the capability of regional and institutional food systems to provide for the basic nutritional needs.
Farm to School aims to get more healthy local foods – including fish and wild foods – on the minds and on the plates of students. Of the many successful and emerging Farm to School models, the salad bar is widely embraced. In Canada, holistic Farm to School programs engaging students and the school community in growing, cooking, preserving and serving healthy local foods in a salad bar service may be found in urban, rural, and remote communities from Haida Gwaii to Newfoundland.
Research has demonstrated Farm to School has positive impact. By procuring locally grown products, schools have been able to serve fresher products to students. In turn, students are consuming more fruits and vegetables and a greater variety of healthy foods. New markets have been created for food producers and more dollars have been brought into local food economies
“The holistic approach used by Farm to Cafeteria Canada to bring local food into schools is demonstrating positive results for students across Canada. The partnership between Farm and Cafeteria Canada and Whole Kids Foundation is a very encouraging sign of the growth of the farm to school movement in Canada.”, says Scott Graham, Assistant Executive Director, Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia.
Farm to Cafeteria Canada is working with partner organizations in Ontario and British Columbia put the final touches on the Farm to School grant guidelines. In December of 2015 the guidelines will be posted on Farm to Cafeteria Canada’s website www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca and in January 2016 the application process will be opened. Inquiries about the Farm to School Grant program may be directed to Farm2schoolgrantscanada@gmail.com.
Joanne Bays, National Manager Farm to Cafeteria Canada
About Whole Kids Foundation™
Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is based in Austin, Texas, and operates as an independent, nonprofit organization. By empowering schools and inspiring families, the Foundation aims to help children reach optimal health through the strength of a healthy body fueled by nutritious food. For more information on the Foundation’s programs including school gardens, salad bars and nutrition education for teachers, visit wholekidsfoundation.org.
About Farm to Cafeteria Canada
Farm to Cafeteria Canada is a pan-ˇCanadian organization that educates, builds capacity, strengthens partnerships, and influences policy to bring local, healthy, and sustainable foods into all public institutions. Farm to Cafeteria Canada is proud to lead the national Farm to School movement. For more information about F2CC, visit www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca.