Over 450 participants met in Montreal this week for Changing the Menu, the first-ever pan Canadian conference aiming to put healthy, local and sustainable food on the menu in schools across Canada.
Mapping the change: Quebec—a pioneer in healthy, local and sustainable school food projects
Culinary brigades in high schools, sensory workshops in elementary schools, gardens, greenhouses and healthy local food in cafeterias: dozens of projects were presented by those involved in this growing coast-to-coast food movement, including experts from various fields like health, education, food services, farming, recreation, research and public policy. Some 150 speakers gave presentations and conducted field visits highlighting various inspirational projects, many of which are based in Quebec. The first map of school food activities across Canada, created in an effort to map the change, was also launched at the event. Over 660 school activities involving over 580,000 students are on the map—with 250 projects and 418,000 students in Quebec alone!
This learning exchange and promotion of school initiatives will empower food service managers, parents, teachers, principals, farmers, school meal providers, after-school providers, First Nations communities, researchers and policy makers to provide healthy, local and sustainable food in schools.
The Changing the Menu conference was hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Farm to Cafeteria Canada—a pan-Canadian network—and Équiterre. It was made possible thanks to the contribution of partners from the Nourishing School Communities initiative.
Thank you for sharing your resources and knowledge to nurture this great Canadian movement. Let's hope that—like food in schools—the impact of this event will be sustainable!