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Farm to School: Canada Digs In
Farm to School: Canada Digs In! is an exciting partnership designed to prevent chronic disease by giving students across Canada, from kindergarten to campus, an opportunity to develop life-long healthy eating habits and skills. These schools use a farm to school approach to provide access to healthy, local food and hands-on learning, while building community and strengthening local food systems. 
Supported by multiple partners across the government, non-government, and private sectors, Canada Digs In facilitates the delivery of farm to school programs, the development of resources and tools, and the sharing of knowledge. The initiative was evaluated for participating schools between 2016 and 2020 in Canada’s first-ever comprehensive evaluation of the impacts of farm to school.  

Project Partners

Farm to Cafeteria Canada is a pan-Canadian organization whose vision is to “create vibrant and sustainable regional food systems that contribute to the health of people, place and the planet.” It works with partners across the country to educate people, build capacity, strengthen partnerships and influence policy to promote access to local, healthy and sustainable food in 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 care sector to create new solutions to help Canadians lead healthy lives, promote healthy eating and physical activity and tackling common risk factors for major chronic diseases.

The Whole Kids Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization located in Austin, Texas. By empowering schools and inspiring families in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, they help children enjoy optimal health thanks to a strong and healthy body that thrives on 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. SPARC BC works with communities to create a just and healthy society for all.

A voluntary, not-for-profit organization, the Public Health Association of British Columbia (PHABC) is a member-driven, non-governmental entity that provides leadership to promote health, well-being and social equity.

Farm to School BC a PHABC initiative that encourages and helps schools and communities work together to bring healthy, local, equitable and sustainable food to schools in British Columbia.

Sustain Ontario is a provincial cross-sector alliance that promotes healthy food and agriculture. The Ontario Edible Education Network, an initiative of Sustain Ontario, was established to bring these groups together to exchange resources, ideas and experiences, collaborate on advocacy and make it easier to encourage children and youth to eat, grow, cook, celebrate and experience healthy, locally produced, sustainable foods in Ontario.

Équiterre is an organization based in Montreal, with branches in Quebec City and Ottawa, which offers concrete solutions to accelerate the transition to a society where citizens, organizations and governments make ecological choices that are also healthy and equitable.

The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is mandated to develop and implement a total operational approach for the agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries sectors, as well as for value-added production. This approach aims to improve the economic competitiveness and sustainable development of these sectors and related industries.

Food First NL is a provincial, not-for-profit organization that is advancing food security in Newfoundland and Labrador since 1998. Its mission is to actively promote comprehensive community solutions to ensure access to healthy and adequate food for all.

Meal Exchange is a nationally registered charity that works with more than a third of Canadian universities and delivers programs in over 100 communities across the country. For more than 20 years, Meal Exchange has helped students develop innovative solutions to address food insecurity and build sustainable food systems on their campuses and with their communities.

Heart + Stroke: Life. We don’t want you to miss it. For over 60 years, Heart & Stroke has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Our work has saved thousands of lives and improved the lives of millions of others.

Acknowledgements 

Farm to School: Canada Digs In! has been made possible by partnerships at the national, regional and community levels. In addition to the partner organizations listed above we would like to thank the following current and past members of the project delivery team: Murielle Vrins, Geneviève Chatelain, Colleen Thorpe (Quebec); Sarah Ferber, Kristie Jameson, Suzanne Hawkins (Newfoundland & Labrador); Richard Han, Marcus Lobb, Claudia Paez, Kiku Dhanwant, Shannon Turner (British Columbia); Carolyn Webb, Josie Di Felice, Phil Mount (Ontario); Melanie Cormier, Jill Mulholland, Alison Aiton (New Brunswick); Anita Abraham, Celia White, Dayna Lahey, Matt Currie, Nicole Norris, Brittany Maguire, Jess Schellenberg (campus); Tracey O’Neil, Danielle Côte, Rachelle Bordeleau (design and communications); Joanne Bays, Jesse Veenstra, and Scott Graham (national administration). 

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude and admiration for the school and campus-based teams who have participated in this initiative to date. This includes countless dedicated teachers, principals, and other school and campus administrators; farmers, fishers, foragers, and other local food providers; chefs, food-service personnel, parents, Elders, community organizations, and of course – students!  This initiative would not have been possible without your passion, creativity, and dedication to the farm to school movement. 

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6 Responses
  1. jfrench@smcdsb.on.ca'
    Jonathan French

    Hello. I am an elementary school teacher and also a market gardener/farmer of organic vegetables. I am interested in finding ways to access funding to establish an onsite garden and greenhouse project at my school in Barrie, Ontario. The purpose would be to use the garden and greenhouse to support healthy snacking at school, nutrition education, and a variety of other curriculum linked programs. Happy to hear of how to get this started.

    1. F2CC admin

      Hi Jonathan!

      Thanks so much for contacting us! We would love to have your school involved in the Farm to School movement!

      We do not yet have grants planned for 2019, but it is quite possible we’ll be issuing a call for grants at some time in 2019. My best suggestion for staying on top of this would be to follow us on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter (if you’re not already) .

      If you’re just starting out, you can take a look at some of the resources (http://www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/resources/featured-resources/) we’ve published that give you a lot of great ideas on how to start a Farm to School program in your school. A really good resource that’s pretty much a step by step is our New Brunswick Farm to School Guide. http://www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/2017/12/new-brunswick-farm-to-school-guide/

      You should also know that if your school is currently participating in any Farm to School activities, you can get involved in Farm to School Month which is happening right now! When you register, you have a chance to win a $1500 grant. This is only for the month of October, so you have one week left to enter. It’s a great way to get a little seed money for a school garden. http://www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/resources/featured-resources/

      Other things you or your school can do is sign up for our newsletter on the home page of our website: http://www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/
      It’s sent out twice a year, in the spring and fall.

      You can also stay connected and follow us on social media at

      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FarmtocafeteriaCanada/
      and Twitter: https://twitter.com/Farm2Cafeteria

      Thanks so much and hope to have you join us soon!

  2. sunturtle54@gmail.com'
    lutes

    THIS sounds like a wonderful idea…..have been involved in a similar concept in the Albert County area of N.B……school had garden plots that 3-4 people got the kids, at noon time, to come out and turn over, plant, watch and weed, for about 1 -1 1/2 months before school ended….the kids did not see the fruition of what they had planted. School ended and kids left. The 3-4 people getting the kids to plant could maintain the gardens throughout the summer if they wanted, but No kids were involved. Then the kids could enjoy some of the produce when they returned in the fall, IF there was any as through the summer, being unattended regularly, passersby with no concept of gardening or it’s advantages, would pull out an destroy the gardens, so there was very little to nothing for the kids to be involved in upon their return….seemed like a thankless venture for the 3-4 people involved and moot point for the kids as there was no way to “reap their rewards”. Glad to see a Practical concept that you present. Best of Luck with this

    1. F2CC admin

      Thanks for contacting us lutes! There can be challenges to maintaining a school garden for all the reason you mention. A lot of the schools that maintain their gardens reply on volunteers to help out with weeding and harvesting. Posting signs that say “School Garden” might help passer-bys to recognize what the area is used for. This is one of the reasons why community involvement is so important! We hope you find the resources and personnel to help support your school’s garden in the future! Please feel free to look through our Resources section for ideas!

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