We’re pleased to announce the first recipients of our new Dig In Seed Grants! These flexible grants, developed in partnership with the Schad Foundation, deliver a total of $75,000 directly to 27 schools across 9 provinces and 1 territory allowing them to jumpstart their local food to school journeys.

These grants are intended to support schools who are just getting started on their farm or local food to school journey, or smaller projects that can be completed within one school year. Regardless of where a school is at, the grants are intended to help improve school food environments by increasing access to healthy, local and culturally appropriate foods in schools and/or improve opportunities for hands-on learning through food and food systems. Celebrating the diversity of school communities across the country, how the funds can be spent is flexible and depends on each school’s unique goals and needs. Details about how the grants have been awarded can be found at the bottom of this post.

Grantee Initiative Highlights

The new grantee schools are set to actively engage students in local food systems through a variety of activities. On the cultivation side, schools are exploring the establishment of hydroponic and indoor growing systems, gardens, and the cultivation of edible Indigenous plants. In terms of food service, we are glad these grants will support the purchase of kitchen equipment and small appliances that will enhance the schools’ capacity for more scratch cooking, safe food service and storage, and waste reduction while also facilitating educational cooking activities for students. Many schools have also shared with us that they are excited to incorporate access to diverse cultural foods, celebrate Indigenous land-based learning, and much more into their programs!

Beyond the school-based program activities, grant-recipient schools will also have opportunitites to connect, share, and learn from each other, facilitated by Farm to Cafeteria Canada and our regional partners. This collaborative approach ensures a broader impact and a collective effort toward fostering sustainable and inclusive food practices in schools across the country.

Learning Together: Hydroponics and Indoor Growing Webinar Series

One trend we’ve noticed with this grant cycle, is a strong interest in hydroponics systems and indoor growing. To help grant recipients, and others who are interested in this topic, we’ll be hosting a webinar series that covers both these topics in partnership with Farm to School BC. You can learn more and register here.

Welcome to our Dig In! Seed Grant recipients:

  • Oilfields High School - Black Diamond, AB
  • St. Benedict Catholic School - Edmonton, AB
  • École Bishop Savaryn School - Edmonton, AB
  • Clearwater River Dene School - Clearwater River, SK
  • Machray Elementary School - Winnipeg, MB
  • Minnedosa Collegiate - Minnedosa, MB
  • Cobourg Collegiate Institute - Cobourg, ON
  • McCrosson-Tovell School - Sleeman, ON
  • Martin McKay Memorial School - Sachigo Lake, ON
  • Tecumseh Public School - London, ON
  • North Park Secondary School - Brampton, ON
  • Oakridge Public School - Mississauga, ON
  • Beaver Brae Public School - Kenora, ON
  • Sakatcheway Anishinabe School - Grassy Narrows, ON
  • École élémentaire catholique d'enseignement personnalisé Édouard Bond - Ottawa, ON
  • Ormstown Elementary School - Ormstown, QU
  • École alternative des Quatre-Saisons - Longueuil, QU
  • École secondaire de Saint-Marc - Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, QU
  • École St-Blaise - Saint-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, QU
  • École Jules-Émond - Québec, QU
  • Dalhousie Regional High School - Dalhousie, NB
  • École Champlain - Moncton, NB
  • Nelnah Bessie John School - Beaver Creek, YT
  • FH Collins Secondary - Whitehorse, YT
  • John J Sark Memorial Elementary - Lennox Island, PEI
  • H.M MacDonald Elementary - Antigonish, NS
  • William Gillett Academy - Charlottetown, NL

Learn more about the grants and check out stories from past grant recipients here. 

Our Grant Selection Process

In response to feedback from schools, this grant stream was designed to be flexible so that schools could use the funds for a range of equipment and activities that suit their individual goals and needs for transforming their school food environment. The grant stream was also designed to have a simplified application process and to provide funding amounts suited for schools just getting started or looking to work on small-scale projects. We received far more applications than we had grants to award. To help reduce bias and award these grants equitably across the country, we used the following process:

  1. Screening for eligibility. All applications that met the grant criteria were placed into 1 of 5 regional selection pools.
  2. Random selection of schools from each of the 5 regions, adjusted for pre-determined demographic and regional factors, was used to create an initial recipient list.
  3. Review and confirmation of recipients by a selection committee took place. With representation from F2CC’s board, staff, regional partners and advisory council this group provided oversight and confirmation of the final grant recipient list. 

This process was a new one for our team and we felt it was successful in helping to limit selection bias. It was also a good learning experience for our team and one we will look to apply and improve upon it in future grant cycles.

The 2023 Dig In! Seed Grants are made possible thanks to the generous support of The Schad Foundation.

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