Farm to School programs bring healthy, local food into schools, from pre-schools to campuses, providing opportunities for hands-on learning that enhances food literacy while strengthening local food systems and school and community connectedness. The Benefits of Farm to School: Evidence from Canada demonstrates the impacts of Farm to School activities, which include public health, education and learning, the environment, community connectedness and the economic benefits. It is complemented by the United States’ National Farm to School Network’s fact sheet, which provides an extensive list of benefits and sources backed by research from the US.
The positive impacts of Farm to School programs in Canada are becoming clear, but more evaluation is needed to better understand – and grow – the movement to put more healthy, local food on the minds and plates of Canadian students. The development of this fact sheet is an important first step and, as part of the multi-sectoral chronic disease prevention initiative, Farm to School: Canada Digs In! Farm to Cafeteria Canada is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of 92 participating schools (K-12) and 14 campuses across British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, which will add to this growing body of evidence.