March 27, 2020
Dear Farm to School Grant Applicants,
During this challenging time, we hope you are well.
On March 16th we issued a notification that the deadline for Farm to School (F2S) Canada Grants applications would be postponed, but did not set a new one. After much discussion and reflection, we have decided to extend the original deadline by three weeks, to Friday April 17th, 2020 (11:59pm PST).
We know this may be a relief to some and may still present a challenge to others. Please know it is our intention to harness the momentum and enthusiasm for F2S. We are committed to deliver grants in the 2020/21 school year while remaining flexible to the needs of our national F2S community. We made this decision by considering a myriad of challenges faced by applicants and our own team. As a result, in addition to a deadline extension, we are also making the following changes to application requirements and review process:
- Applications with letters of support will be weighted similarly to those without letters of support. We heard from many of you that obtaining letters of support is challenging at this time.
Therefore, application review and final selection will be heavily weighted on the overall quality of applications. If you have already obtained letter(s) of support you are welcome to include them in your application.
- Section 2.2 – Food Preparation and Service Space
Photos of food preparation, service and dining space are no longer required with grant applications. We understand it may not be possible to access schools at this time, even for staff. Please still briefly describe these spaces in the application. If you already have photos of the food service/prep/dining areas you are welcome to still include them in your application.
- Section 3.4 – Food Safety
Pre-approval of your food safety plan by a local Public Health Inspector (PHI) / Environmental Health Officer (EHO) is not required at the time of application submission. We understand that local PHIs/EHOs may not have capacity to review and approve proposed salad bar service plans. However, food safety remains of utmost importance now more than ever. Please complete section 3.4 to the best of your ability. Successful applicants will be conditionally approved pending sign-off from local food safety authorities when they have capacity to do so, prior to initiating the F2S salad bar service next school year. Note: We also understand this may require adapting proposed salad bar service plans. F2CC is committed to supporting schools to creatively adapt their service plans to meet the recommendations and requirements of local health officials, while still providing students with access to healthy, local and sustainable food.
- Section 3.5 – Local Food Sourcing
Agreements with local farmers and other suppliers are not essential at this time. We understand that potential sources of food for salad bars may be subject to change, and that establishing confirmed purchasing agreements at this time may be challenging. Please complete this section as best you can, with the information you have available. We will still be looking for an intention to emphasize local purchasing and encourage you to list potential suppliers, even if not confirmed.
- Section 4 – Budget
Quotes for single pieces of equipment >$1,200 do not need to be submitted with applications. We understand that obtaining equipment quotes is often one of the final activities of application development. If it is not possible to obtain quotes at this time, applications will still be considered complete. Please still submit budget estimates to the best of your knowledge.
- Overall considerations
If you have an application in progress, please do your best to complete it and submit! All completed applications will be considered. The best way to ensure your application is considered for funding is to ensure every section is complete. We understand there may be unknowns at this time – that you may have wanted to include more details that are not available; or that the scope or timelines of proposed activities may need to shift in the future. BUT if you have an application in progress, we strongly encourage you to complete every section and submit it so that it may be considered for funding.Finally, we will be adding an open-ended field to the application to share additional feedback and reflections on your proposed program, considering COVID-19. For those who have already submitted a completed application, you are welcome to share these reflections with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to your application.
On behalf of the F2S Canada Grants team, we understand these are uncertain times, but now more than ever we believe in the power of sustainable local food systems to ensure healthy, vibrant and resilient communities.
We strongly believe F2S not only brings joy to communities, but that it can be a catalyst for transforming local food systems in positive ways. For this reason, we are committed to supporting schools and communities to continue to deliver these impactful initiatives to the benefit of children, youth and whole communities in a way that best serves their individual needs as we move forward – together.
Manager, Farm to School Initiatives
Farm to Cafeteria Canada