Farm to Cafeteria Canada National Director Joanne Bays Set to Begin New Chapter

After helping to establish and lead Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC), our National Director, Joanne Bays is moving away from her position to pursue other personal and professional opportunities. This decision comes nine years after Joanne sparked the F2CC movement and inspired thousands to follow.  

In 2009, Joanne and 25 change makers from across Canada created a network whose vision was to add more healthy local sustainable foods in Canada’s public institutions. In 2011, the network became official thanks to funding from the J.W. McConnell Foundation. In 2014, F2CC and the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia cemented an innovative partnership – providing fiscal, evaluative, and strategic planning support to the fledgling network. What began as a dream is now a growing pan-Canadian organization helping to transform regional and institutional food landscapes. 

Working with Joanne over the years has been incredibly fun and inspirational. She planted a seed, nurtured it, watched it flourish, and has invited everyone to the harvest!

Partners across the country have been inspired and supported in their Farm to Cafeteria activities – a direct result of her determination and commitment to the shared vision of F2CC: vibrant, local, sustainable food systems that support the health of people, place and planet.

Joanne’s passion and love for people and the planet can be seen through her accomplishments. But behind the numbers and stories are smiles, friendships and celebrations from indulging in delicious local foods together to waving our Canadian flag at international conferences. 

With her leadership, the Farm to School movement has been at the heart of the organization’s work.  Since 2016, F2CC has partnered with the Whole Kids Foundation to provide grants of up to $10,000 each to 91 schools in five provinces to implement farm to school salad bar initiatives. 

Today, more than 1229 schools report they are providing 867,782 students with an opportunity to grow, harvest, and eat healthy local foods at school. Combined, these schools estimate they spend $16.3 million annually on local foods. 

In collaboration with its partners, F2CC has created a number of resources that inspire and support the  implementation of Farm to School activities, such as the Farm to School Learning Circle Guide and the New Brunswick Farm to School Guide

With a strong focus on program evaluation, F2CC continues to gather evidence that demonstrates that when we put more healthy local sustainable foods in our public institutions people, place and planet benefit!  You  can read about our evaluation work in the following blogs posts: 

We are proud of F2CC’s credibility which stems from strong partnerships across sectors and jurisdictions. In the past decade, over 37 organizations have invested in the organization and more than 5000 members/followers have joined its e-platforms. 

As members of the F2CC network, your support, commitment and shared vision has been outstanding and will help us pave the way for a new National Director to successfully transition into their new role.

Joanne’s vision for how to increase local,  sustainable and healthy food in public institutions has positively transformed the food security landscape in Canada. She is a tremendous champion and her legacy will continue to inspire us as we collectively build on the solid foundation she has set in place.

We’ll miss Joanne but are very excited for her and all the wonderful joy she will bring to her next endeavours. Please join us in celebrating Joanne, her contributions to the field, and the accomplishments F2CC has seen so far.  

Roxana Atkinson
Leadership Council Chair
Farm to Cafeteria Canada

Scott Graham 
Associate Executive Director 
Social Planning and Research Council of BC

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