Farm to Cafeteria Canada (F2CC), the Whole Kids Foundation, and Food First NL have announced a second round of Farm to School Canada grants. Valued at up to $10,000 each, these grants will be delivered to 33 schools across the country, including 3 schools in Newfoundland & Labrador.

The goal of F2CC’s Farm to School program is to get more locally grown food onto the minds and plates of students across the country. The program achieves this goal by establishing partnerships between schools and the farmers, fishers, and food producers in their area.

For example, during the first round of F2CC Farm to School grants, St. Bonaventures College in St. John’s received money to establish a farm to school salad bar program in their school. The self-serve salad bar allows students to pick from a variety of fruits, vegetables, and dressings. As much produce as possible comes from Lester’s Farm, and changes seasonally to ensure freshness and variety.

This second round of Farm to School grants will help fund similar programs at the following schools in Newfoundland & Labrador:

Clarenville Middle School – Clarenville
Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School – Corner Brook
St Teresa’s Elementary School – St John’s

By providing students with both quality nutrition in the cafeteria, and hands-on food education in the classroom, and simultaneously supporting the local food supply chain, Farm to School is a full-circle win for students, communities, local farmers, and local food economies.

“There is a food revolution afoot in Canadian schools,” says Joanne Bays, National Director for Farm to Cafeteria Canada. “Parents, teachers, students, and food service workers are clamouring for a fresh crunch in school lunch, and local farmers and fishers are eager to deliver!”

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, says, “The Government of Canada is proud to support the program Farm to School: Canada Digs In!, which encourages young Canadians to eat healthier food by teaching them where it comes from and helping them to grow it themselves. Bringing healthy, local food into schools and providing our youth with inspiration to make informed food choices will help children develop healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”

This is a particularly relevant statement for a province like ours, with above average rates of diet-related health issues, like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Food First NL became our province’s principal partner for this national program to ensure the Farm-to-School movement could take root in schools in Newfoundland & Labrador. Education manager, Sarah Ferber, is the Regional Lead for Farm to Cafeteria Canada in NL.

“The type of food procured by public institutions can play a big role in shaping the health, economy, and food system of our province,” says Ferber.

“By partnering local schools with food producers in their community, we’re bringing healthier food into our schools, and fostering life-long healthy eating habits and ‘eat local’ attitudes in our children, while strengthening local food systems and economies, by providing farmers, fishers, and food producers with more venues for sales of their goods.”