Farm to School is a movement that connects schools and producers/processors with the objectives of serving healthy meals in schools, improving student nutrition, providing food education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
On November 1, 2012 FoodShare Toronto and Sustain Ontario, with support from the Greenbelt Fund, launched the Ontario Farm To School Challenge, encouraging Ontario schools to increase local food in school food programs. Across Ontario, schools were able to connect students of all ages with fresh, locally grown foods, bringing the ‘farm’ to their cafeterias. This program also enhanced and developed the schools’ student nutrition programs, hospitality and culinary arts programs, and special events.
For two years the Challenge successfully engaged students and educated participants about the environment, farming, eating healthy, and about all the good things that grow in Ontario.
Below are some resources for schools, students, and teachers to get involved in adding more local to their menus!
Tips and Tricks
- Take a look at what you’re currently serving and where you could substitute more Ontario foods. You’d be surprised by how easy this can be!
- Start looking for opportunities to source Ontario foods and set a goal that your school can work toward together.
- Contact your current food supplier and ask which of the products you purchase can be locally sourced.
- Check the Ontariofresh.ca Search to find a producer or processor near you and connect directly. Look for the Farm to School icon on producer profiles for businesses that are willing to accommodate school food service needs.
- Create a profile for your school on Ontariofresh.ca so that local producers and processors can find you can let them know what you’re looking for.
- Let students, teachers, parents and staff know that you’ve started to incorporate more local foods into the school food program.