Building upon the success of the previous 3 years, Fresh from the Farm, Healthy Fundraising for Ontario Schools has expanded to include 53 school boards, and is now eligible to over 4000, publicly-funded schools. Fresh from the Farm provides schools the opportunity to raise funds by selling fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to the community, while supporting healthy eating and Ontario’s farmers. Since 2013, almost 300 Ontario schools have successfully piloted Fresh from the Farm. In total, they collectively distributed almost 744,000 lbs. of fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to Ontario families and raised more than $273,000 for school initiatives. As well, over $382,000 was returned to Ontario farmers. This year’s ‘bundles’ include: for $12- 5 lb potatoes, 3 lb carrots, 3 lb onions, 3 lb sweet potatoes, and for, $15 – an 8 lb box of Empire apples.
Fresh from the Farm promotes healthy eating by offering schools an innovative fundraising program that:
- aligns with Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy (PPM 150) and the Local Food Act, 2013;
- raises awareness about the important role good nutrition plays in the development and well-being of children and youth;
- serves to stimulate the local economy through the promotion and sales of fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables;
- helps to create a more supportive nutrition environment in schools;
- supports the provincial government’s Student Nutrition Program’s efforts to develop healthier learning environments;
- provides opportunities for introducing the related topics of agriculture, food, and healthy eating into the classroom;
- provides funds for schools – schools keep 40% of sales.
Students fundraise September 6 through to October 14th culminating with the delivery of fresh Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to the schools in November. The program model involves parent volunteers to package produce, ready for same-day customer pick-up. Interested parents, educators and students can contact their school principal. Schools enrol at www.freshfromfarm.ca/enrol.aspx
Cathy O’Connor, RD
Dieticians of Canada
Project Coordinator, Fresh from the Farm