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Photo: British Columbians have responded with enthusiasm for local food during the public health crisis. Can we build on what we’ve learned, and make it stick? Photo: Jamil Rhajiak, UBC Farm.

We asked: What has COVID-19 shown you about making our food system better?

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught all of us, it’s that providing access to food is the most essential of essential services.

It’s taught us many other lessons too, from the dangerous work conditions that migrant farmers and meat-packing employees face to the importance of supporting the producers, markets, restaurants and frontline grocery store workers that keep us healthy and fed when we unexpectedly find ourselves stuck in our neighbourhoods for months on end.

For all the problems we’ve witnessed with supply chains and service closures, British Columbians have responded with enthusiasm for local food. Demand for Community Supported Agriculture boxes and garden plots went through the roof in the Lower Mainland; everyone from chefs to farmers learned new online systems for arranging orders, pickups and local deliveries; and First Nations demonstrated the role Indigenous food sovereignty plays in the fight against colonialism.

With many more threats to food security on the horizon, we need to take this wake-up call seriously, say representatives on all sides of the dinner plate, from field to fork.

“I think we need to view this current crisis as a fire drill,” said local food systems advocate Michael Ableman, who picked up the phone after a long day of work at Foxglove, his family farm on Salt Spring Island. “We just had a momentary glimpse into the possibility that things were going to shut down when, here in Canada, the trucks kept rolling, the planes were shipping, and the boats were still moving stuff around.” Read More

Serena Renner 
July 2, 2020

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6 hours ago

Today is Family Literacy Day and this year's theme is: Learning in the Great Outdoors 🌱🍓🌳🏵️How perfect! Last fall we celebrated all the ways that farm to school is grounded in land-based learning. We have seen the healthy impacts of outdoor classrooms and we encourage hands-on-learning as part of the school curriculum! bit.ly/34iYnsgHow do YOU learn in the great outdoors?Check out resources and activities with Life Literacy Canada: abclifeliteracy.ca/all-programs/family-literacy-day/@abclifeliteracy #farm2school #landbasedlearning #outdoorclassrooms #handsonlearning ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

It has been 5 years since the launch of the Farm to School Canada Grant program. Incredibly, that program has now afforded more than 53,000 students in 133 schools right across Canada an opportunity to feast on healthy local foods at school.One of most important aspects of the grant program continues to be it's FLEXIBILITY, underpinned by the understanding that a cookie cutter approach to school food is NOT going to work in Canada. To close the distance between children, their food and their land, in this vast country with it’s diverse ecosystems and its multicoloured tapestry of people and food culture, the program needs to meet children, schools, and whole communities where they were at. It also needs to be developed, and driven by the community - the school and the local food system community.Today, if you visit any of these schools you will likely see a whole lot more than a salad bar. School greenhouses, gardens, farms, smoke houses, root cellars, kitchens, and/or dining areas are commonplace in recipient schools. And in these places, often the heartbeat of the school, you will likely see dozens of excited children happily digging in.I suppose this is why I am thrilled to see that F2CC and WKF have put out another call for proposals. Up to $10,000 per school is available. If your school has a vision, partners, and a plan, please send in a proposal. Deadline January 31, 2022. www.farmtocafeteriacanada.ca/our-work/farm-to-school-grants/ ... See MoreSee Less
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