While COVID-19 calls for physical distancing, more than ever the world is socially connected, and a hot topic of conversation is food.
The pandemic has ramped-up a growing movement in civil society to rediscover and reclaim food systems. Institutions like schools are front and centre because of the essential role they play in providing students and whole communities with access to healthy food. Schools can also contribute to economic recovery by leveraging buying power to support Canadian farmers, harvesters, hunters, fishers, and other actors.
The following is a summary of emerging conversations, insights, and links to resources related to COVID-19 and food. If you have a story or resource to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspiration for farm to school activities from home!
School may be physically out for most students, but Farm to School activities can be practiced from anywhere! Here you’ll find resources, lessons, videos and more to engage students in learning about healthy, local food systems:
- Our Healthy People, Healthy Planet resource list, developed as part of Farm to School Month 2019, gives you access to an extensive list of resources and activities for hands-on learning.
- Sustain Ontario has compiled a list of food literacy resources in the time of COVID. Watch their recent webinar on the topic.
- Our partners at Food First Newfoundland have a library about teaching food skills, from growing and harvesting, to preserving and composting.
- Learn and cook local at home with Équiterre’s local food recipe and activity cards.
- Dig-in to Gardening! Halton Food is hosting weekly conversations, Wednesdays at 1pm EST. Check-out recordings from previous weeks, or register for an upcoming conversation.
- Webinar Wednesdays are hosted by Farm to School BC. Check out their list of upcoming topics and past recordings.
- Growing Chefs in BC has been sharing fun at-home growing and cooking video lessons.
- Fresh Root’s Urban Farm Society has compiled at-home learning resources and ideas in their weekly “Fresh Five.”
- Vancouver’s Project CHEF has moved much of its programming online to support teachers, parents and children. Check out their website and YouTube Channel for a wide variety of at-home resources, available to all.
Governments support “going local”
Governments at all levels are supporting efforts to scale-up food production in their regions and calling on all of us to buy local. The following links are part of the growing conversation:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urges people to ‘buy Canadian’ food and produce amid COVID-19.
- Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly of the Green Party of Canada calls for localized food producing in Canada.
- New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs calls for more locally grown produce in the province.
- The Quebec government commits $2.5 billion to the provincial food sector to be rolled out over five years.
COVID-19 food policy responses
- Food Secure Canada’s Growing Resilience and equity: a food policy action plan in the context of Covid-19. Summary and full plan.
- US National Farm to School Network’s COVID-19 Policy Platform.
Other food related resources and links
- Mobilizing communities to increase access to healthy school foods while schools are closed. This post, written by our partners at Sustain Ontario, summarizes some of the early community responses related to school food and to COVID-19. Read it here.
- On a weekly basis, the Coalition for Healthy School Food is compiling stories about school food and COVID-19 in the media.
- There is growing interest in outdoor learning to support physical distancing and allow students to benefit from accessing Mother Nature. Read this call for more outdoor education in Quebec’s 100° magazine and check out this list of ideas for playful outdoor learning from BC teacher, Megan Zeni.
- Looking for healthy eating and food safe recommendations during COVID-19? Find the latest information on food safety and COVID-19 from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Dietitians of Canada is also providing links to additional information and updates on their website.
- School and community gardens offer a great opportunity to connect with food and each other, and this can be done safely with the proper precautions. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has released guidelines for safe practices in community gardens. This page also includes specific guidance for coordinators of community and school gardens spaces. Check it out here.
- Our partners at the US National Farm to School Network have a growing list of COVID-19 and Farm to School resources.
If you have a related story or resource to share, please email email@example.com