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Sea to School is a term used to describe programs that procure local sustainable seafood for schools and promote ocean literacy. These programs take many forms, from serving local seafood in school lunches, to taking students on field trips to local fishing docks, to incorporating ocean-based curriculum in classrooms. However, in North America, Sea to School programs are far less common than their Farm to School counterparts. 

On April 29th, 2021, Food First NL and Fishing for Success hosted a webinar to explore Sea to School programs across Canada and the US, the opportunities and challenges they experience, and why in certain coastal regions like Newfoundland and Labrador, it has been difficult to develop Sea to School programs.

A webinar recording is available here

The webinar was hosted by Jenn Thornhill Verma, freelance journalist and author of Cod Collapse

Panelists included:

Emily Doyle, a PhD candidate at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, whose research focuses on the province’s school food system.

Jenn Lovewell, co-founder of Bay2Tray in the San Francisco Bay area, a program that works to get sustainable bycatch into local schools.

Elizabeth Moore,  is Yakgujanaas of the Haida Nation. She is an Indigenous food gatherer who works with schools, hospitals, and the greater community to increase food security and knowledge in the area. She is currently working with the Local Food to School program in Haida Gwaii. Elizabeth belongs to the Yakgujanaas of the Haida Nation.

Kimberly Orren, founder of Fishing for Success in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, a program that creates pathways for youth to connect to their fishing heritage.

Talia Young, founder of Fishadelphia, a student-led community seafood program in Philadelphia.  

Panelists discussed a diverse range of topics, such as Indigenous food sovereignty, strengthening local food chains, improving livelihoods in coastal communities, teaching place-based food skills, and seafood as a vehicle for social and environmental justice. The discussion also covered practical considerations in developing Sea to School programs, like working within (or challenging) governmental regulations around food procurement, connecting schools with local fishers, and promoting eating seafood to kids.  

We encourage you to watch the full webinar and check out the Sea to School programs linked above.

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