Healthy: Foods that are as fresh as possible, minimally processed and packaged, and low in simple sugars, salt and fats.
Local: Food produced as close to the school as possible or food produced within your province.
Sustainable: Foods produced using practices that support a community’s environmental, economic, social, and cultural wellbeing.
Farm to School Salad Bars look different in every school. They reflect the local geography, diverse cultures, traditions and preferences of their school communities. Below are a few examples of how schools get creative with their salad bar:
Small is beautiful…and attainable! When starting a Farm to School Salad Bar service, avoid proposing something large or complex to start. Instead, begin with a well-thought-out plan that builds on your school’s strengths. From there, set progressive goals to help grow the initiative as experience is gained and feedback is gathered from the school community.
For a comprehensive guide to building a Farm to School Salad Bar, check out this guide (see page 23 for Salad Bar 101)
Farm to School Salad Bars should:
With an emphasis on variety and choice, Farm to School Salad Bars provide flexibility and room to be creative. The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas to create excitement and fuel student curiosity:
Access to local food throughout the school year can be a challenge in most regions in Canada. The important thing is to set local food procurement targets and increase them year after year as the salad bar gets established. Below are some ideas to not only incorporate local food outside the growing season, but to create opportunities for students to learn about where their food comes, and how to preserve the growing season:
Contact your local Public Health or Food Inspector / Environmental Health Officer to ensure you are following your province’s regulations and have appropriate permits. Here are some basic requirements applicable in most provinces:
To learn more about food safety in Canada visit the Canadian Public Health Association.
*Note: approval by local food inspection authorities to operate the salad bar is a condition of all Farm to School Canada Salad Bar Grants.
Since its launch in 2016, the Farm to School Canada Digs In! Initiative has enabled more than 55, 000 students in 86 schools in 5 provinces an opportunity to grow, prepare and eat healthy, local, sustainable foods at a school salad bar. Here’s a taste of what recent salad bar grantees have shared:
“Students are provided healthy, fresh, local food on a regular basis. This has become something students are excited about and look forward to. Healthy food is becoming part of our school culture.”
“Students are excited about the free salad bar and load up their plates, they are often heard speaking positively about it in the morning in anticipation… and there are line-ups!”
“Students are involved with planting, harvesting and preparing many of the vegetables used in our salad bar. It has been a powerful experience for them to be involved with all these aspects of food production.”
“Students try NEW foods that they would not have tried a year ago. As they get more comfortable with choosing healthy foods they get more experimental with their out of comfort food experiences.”
“Les élèves ont très hâte au lancement du bar à salade.”
“Beaucoup de jeunes adorent ce service.”
“Des gens de la communauté s’engagent à faire équipe avec nous, ce qui est toujours positif. “