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Farm to School: Canada Digs In

…with 33 More Schools to Receive Grants

For Immediate Release

Vancouver, June 21, 2018 – Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC) and Whole Kids Foundation (WKF) are thrilled to announce that a second round of Farm to School Canada grants, valued at up to $10,000 each, will be delivered to 33 schools across British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, bringing more of the local harvest into the minds and onto the plates of students across the country.

Over the next two years, the grants will enable these schools to engage their students in growing, harvesting, cooking, preserving, purchasing and serving healthy local foods, where it will be enjoyed in a salad bar meal service. By providing students with both quality nutrition in the cafeteria and hands-on food education in the classroom, while simultaneously supporting the local food supply chain, Farm to School is a full-circle win for students, communities, local farmers and local food economies.

“There is a food revolution afoot in Canadian schools. Parents, teachers, students, and food service worker are clamouring for a fresh crunch in school lunch, and local farmers and fishers are eager to deliver,” shares Joanne Bays, National Director Farm to Cafeteria Canada. “We are excited about the opportunity to continue to seed, feed, and watch this movement grow!”

The significant impact of Farm to School is becoming abundantly clear, as shown in the recently-released report from F2CC, WKF, and the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARCBC)  Raising the Bar: A look at the early impact of the Farm to School Canada Grant program, which gained insight from the first round of grants in 2016, which were delivered to 21 schools in Ontario and 29 schools in British Columbia.

While a more comprehensive evaluation process is currently in progress to assess the full impact of these initiatives, the 2016 grant recipients are already reporting positive outcomes from improved student behaviour and improved food literacy, to new opportunities for farmers, increased revenue for schools and more.

“Our staff noticed a difference in student behaviour and focus right away when our lunch program began,” shared a teacher at Lucerne Elementary-Secondary School in the Raising the Bar report.

“The students were lined up and peering through the [glass] door”, shared parent and program coordinator at École Robb Road. “It was like the salad bar lunch was a rock concert and the students were diehard fans.”

These initial grants also served as a catalyst for additional investments to come from NGOs as well as the Government of Canada, bringing multiple partners to Canada’s Farm to School table, as the value in bringing healthy, local food into schools is increasingly becoming realized.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support the program Farm to School: Canada Digs In!, which encourages young Canadians to eat healthier food by teaching them where it comes from and helping them to grow it themselves,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “Bringing healthy, local food into schools and providing our youth with inspiration to make informed food choices will help children develop healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”

To date, a dozen agencies have now invested more than $3.5 million to scale up Farm to School through a new pan-Canadian initiative: Farm to School Canada Digs In!

All schools receiving grants will be supported through the new national initiative. Each will have access to information, ideas, tools, and technical expertise to create, implement and sustain their Farm to School programs. At least 60 schools receiving grants and 14 campuses will also have an opportunity to participate in a national evaluation exploring the impact of their program on its students, the school community, and the local food system. 

“We’re delighted to see how Farm to School has taken root in Canada,” said Kim Herrington, Director of Programs at Whole Kids Foundation. “This comprehensive approach to nutrition education is creating healthier environments in classrooms and cafeterias alike. We are so proud to be a part of this movement and thankful to Farm to Cafeteria Canada for its deep understanding of the need to empower kids to make healthy food choices.”

Findings from the comprehensive evaluation of these Farm to School initiatives will be shared at a National Farm to School Conference taking place in Victoria, British Columbia in the Spring of 2019.

About Farm to Cafeteria Canada
Farm to Cafeteria Canada is a pan-Canadian 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

About Whole Kids Foundation
Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is based in Austin, Texas USA and operates as an independent, non-profit 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.

Contacts For Media:

Joanne Bays
National Director, Farm to Cafeteria Canada
Email: farmtocafeteriacanada@gmail.com
Phone: 250-419-1517

Jesse Veenstra
National Manager Farm to School Initiatives, Farm to Cafeteria Canada
Email: farmtoschoolcanada@gmail.com
Phone: 604-718-8508
www.farmtocafteriacanada.ca

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