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About Farm to School: Canada Digs IN!

Farm to School: Canada Digs In

Farm to School: Canada Digs In! is  a three year, evidence-based, results-focused national initiative that builds on Farm to Cafeteria Canada’s strong and diverse national network and bilingual e-platforms, to scale up  efforts to get  healthy local foods into the minds, onto the plates of students across Canada.

The Farm to School approach engages multiple partners–including students, the school community, and the local food supply chain sector–in a process to implement school and campus-based programs that seek to address social, economic, and environmental determinants that contribute to poor eating habits among Canadian students.

Farm to School: Canada Digs In! will establish, implement and evaluate programs in at least 59 elementary, middle and secondary schools and at least 14 campuses in 5 provinces across Canada  BC, ON, QC, NB and NL.

All Farm to School programs, whether they are based in a elementary, middle, secondary school or campus setting will include a comprehensive set of activities designed to improve student nutrition and  food literacy while strengthening the local food system. Three core activities include:

  • Develop, implement and evaluate experiential food education activities (such as a school garden or a point of purchase educational campaign).
  • Develop and implement food procurement policy.
  • Provide a salad bar food service featuring a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. 

This national initiative will undergo a comprehensive evaluation to explore the process, the benefits and the impact of the Farm to School approach. The Farm to School: Canada Digs in! Story will be brought to life through the development of multiple tools including case studies, fact sheets, info-graphs and a video. Project findings will be shared widely through multiple mediums such as educational webinars and teleconferences, regional training sessions and a national conference.

“Farm to School Canada Digs in is a wonderful example of what is possible when multiple partners who have aligned values, and a diversity of experiences and knowledge come together at the same table to advance a common aim – more healthy local foods in the minds and on the plates of students. The potential for sustaining the work that will be undertaken is strong at this table as partners see this project as part of a broader vision – creating vibrant sustainable foods systems that support the health of people, place and planet.” Joanne Bays, National Manager Farm to Cafeteria Canada

Principal Partners

The principal partners engaged in Farm to School Canada Digs in Include:

Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC) is a pan-Canadian organization whose vision is “vibrant and sustainable regional food systems that support the health of people place and planet.” F2CC works with partners across Canada to educate, build capacity, strengthen partnerships, and influence policy to bring local, healthy, and sustainable foods into all public institutions.

The Public Health Agency of Canada supports innovative partnerships with the private and not-for-profit sectors, and organizations outside the health sector to mobilize new ways to enable Canadians to lead healthy lives, and promote healthy eating, physical activity, and address the common risk factors that underlie major chronic diseases.

Whole Kids Foundation (WKF) is based in Austin, Texas and operates as an independent, non-profit organization. By empowering schools and inspiring families in the US, Canada and the UK, the Foundation aims to help children reach optimal health through the strength of a healthy body fueled by nutritious food.

The Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) is a leader in applied social research, social policy analysis and community development approaches to social justice. They work with communities to build a just and healthy society for all. 

Meal Exchange (MX) is a national registered charity working with over a third of the universities in Canada running programs in over 100 communities across the country. For over 20 years, Meal Exchange has been supporting students to develop innovative solutions addressing food insecurity and building sustainable food systems on their campuses and with communities.

Heart&Stroke, More moments. More life. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. Powered by donors and volunteers, we fund life-saving research and help Canadians lead healthier lives.

Public Health Association of British Columbia (PHABC) is a voluntary, non-profit, non-government, member driven organization that provides leadership to promote health, well-being and social equity. Farm to School BC, an initiative of PHABC promotes and supports schools and communities working together to bring healthy, local, just and sustainable food into BC schools.

Sustain Ontario (SO) is a province-wide, cross sectoral alliance that promotes healthy food and farming. The Ontario Edible Education Network, an initiative of Sustain Ontario, has been established to bring these groups together to: share resources, ideas, and experience; work together on advocacy; and make it easier for people across Ontario to get children and youth eating, growing, cooking, celebrating, and learning about healthy, local and sustainably produced food.

Equiterre,  is a non-profit organization based in Montreal with offices in Quebec City and Ottawa that offers concrete solutions to accelerate the transition towards a society in which individuals, organizations and governments make ecological choices that are both healthy and equitable.

New Brunswick Department  of Agriculture Aquaculture and Fisheries The mandate of the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is to develop and implement a total development approach for the agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and value-added sectors. This approach aims at improving the economic competitiveness and sustainable development of these sectors and related industries.

Food First Newfoundland and Labrador, is a provincial non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of food security efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1998. Food First Newfoundland and Labrador’s mission is to actively promote comprehensive, community-based solutions to ensure access to adequate, healthy food for all. 

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