Access Stories, Resources and Impacts
October is Farm to School Month and this year, we’re celebrating the impacts of farm to school all across the country.
We know this school year is different from any other. Schools are doing their best to adapt in significant ways. We are taking this time to share the farm to school successes that we’ve achieved and point you to opportunities to continue this work, when the time is right.
As the month begins, we’re incredibly proud to share the Farm to School: Canada Digs In! Report 2020. This interactive report highlights the impacts that Canada’s first national farm to school initiative has had on school communities, celebrates the champions who made Canada Digs In! possible, shares practical resources, and points to rich community-based stories of farm to school initiatives across Canada.
As you read this report, we know that you will feel inspired to keep growing the farm to school movement to bring healthy, local food to the minds and plates of students in your community.
Between September 2016 and June 2020, 86 schools and 10 campuses participated in the Canada Digs In! initiative. Schools received grants of up to $10,000 to deliver farm to school salad bar programs. Students ate local and healthy food, participated in hands-on food literacy activities and connected with local food providers, growers, chefs, knowledge keepers, public health professionals and many other community partners.
Included in our report you’ll find:
- Links to 10 practical resources that we developed to support farm to school initiatives including the Farm to School Learning Circle Guide and Recognizing local procurement in 9 Quebec schools.
- An overview of the findings from the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of farm to school in Canada.
As a quick snapshot:
- 96% of schools reported increased consumption of healthy food;
- 95% of schools reported students had greater knowledge and were more aware about gardening, agriculture and the environment;
- 91% of schools recognized themselves as leaders among other institutions in the procurement of healthy, sustainable, local foods; and
- 87% of schools reported the salad bar created a greater sense of vibrancy and excitement.
- A series of sharable info-sheets that communicate the impacts of farm to school programs, that you can use to build support for your own farm to school activities.
“We always knew the salad bar would be a great meal program to provide for the students and staff at École Robb Road, but we had no idea how excited the children truly would be to fill their plates with veggies!” – Elementary school salad bar coordinator
While the report celebrates the accomplishments of Canada Digs In!, the impacts are best told by members of the school-based teams. Here, Aileen Collier, Public Health Nutritionist in Waterloo, Quebec, shares her experience working with Waterloo Elementary School to put in place a farm to school salad bar program.
The Canada Digs In! report is much more than a look back. It tells the story of a collaborative effort to grow farm to school in Canada over the past three years, with many exciting milestones along the way. We’re excited to share this story and to make it easy for farm to school champions to access the resources and evaluation findings. We know these will help more schools and campuses join and grow the farm to school movement.
We hope you enjoy the report. Please share it, as well as the resources we’ve outlined, with individuals and organizations who are equally passionate about a future where every child, every farmer, and every community experiences the joy of farm to school.