To participate in the 2022 Farm to school Canada Grants program,
submit your application here
From November 8, 2021 to February 18, 2022, Farm to School Canada Grants program will open. In an effort to encourage more healthy and local foods in schools, this grant program hands-on food education activities, such as growing, harvesting and preparing food at school, as well as meal services such as salad bars, which allow students to create their own plates. For inspiration, consult the tools available on this page to develop a project in your community.
Farm to School Quebec seeks to encourage and mobilize Quebec schools to implement sustainable food procurement and education initiatives.
THE FARM TO SCHOOL APPROACH
The Farm to School Quebec project seeks to increase the amount of healthy, local and environmentally responsible food in the minds and on plates of students and school communities in Quebec’s elementary and secondary schools.
The Farm to School Quebec approach is based on three pillars:
- access to healthy, local and environmentally responsible food for youth at school (through improving cafeteria menus, by offering regular healthy snacks or by implementing a salad bar service);
- hands-on learning and student involvement;
- developing links between youth and their community.
The Farm to School Quebec program is inspired by Farm to Cafeteria Canada, implementing, evaluating and disseminating best practices to inspire schools to join the movement.
Since 2018, Équiterre has helped nearly 15 schools set up sustainable food projects and educational activities. With funding from the «Farm to School: Canada Digs In!» initiative, students have been able to get involved in growing, harvesting, preparing, processing and serving healthy, local and environmentally responsible foods at their salad bar.
The implementation of the these first two cohorts of schools was coordinated by Farm to Cafeteria Canada and funded by the Whole Kids Foundation (WKF), the Public Health Agency of Canada, Québec en forme and the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ).
Visit the Farm to School: Canada Digs In! page to discover the 15 Quebec schools that have received grants.
Équiterre initiated the Farm to School Quebec project, working to:
1.Implement the project in Quebec, through coordination and development;
2.Support primary and secondary schools with consulting expertise, training and tools to help deploy their projects;
3.Inspire and mobilize Quebec schools to increase the amount of healthy, local and environmentally responsible foods in the minds and on plates of students.
Through its role as regional coordinator, Équiterre mobilizes and supports schools to implement Farm to School projects. Over the years, Équiterre has developed an expertise in supporting healthy, local and environmentally responsible food in schools.
Équiterre has nearly 25 years of experience in supporting public institutions towards sustainable food procurement, with expertise in healthy, local and environmentally responsible agriculture and food. Équiterre guides and supports Quebec schools at each stage of their project: start-up, consolidation, sustainability, support and evaluation.
1.Training sessions at each stage of the project;
2.Transfer of knowledge and experience between schools;
3.Personalized consulting service;
5.Various implementation, communication and awareness tools;
6.Support with local food research and quantification with the Aliments du Québec au menu recognition program;
7.Impact measurement of Farm to School projects in communities.
3. Inspire and mobilize
Équiterre is working to strengthen the various Farm to School initiatives and mobilize a greater number of schools across the province to join the movement for sustainable and integrated school food. To do so, Équiterre promotes and showcases good practices implemented in Quebec schools, as well as schools elsewhere in Canada.
The IMPLEMENTATION Guide
Équiterre has developed the guide Improving local food procurement in Quebec schools, in partnership with 100°, an initiative of M361, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ). The english version has been supported in partnership with F2CC as part of the Canada Digs In ! initiative, with funding support from PHAC. Published in May 2021, the guide provides essential information and concrete tools to accompany Quebec schools as they develop healthy, local and environmentally responsible food initiatives. View the summary diagram.
The Aliments du Québec au Menu Recognition program
Équiterre works in partnership with Aliments du Québec through the Aliments du Québec au menu recognition program, which is dedicated to establishments that promote Québec products on their menus. This program was developed in 2016 by Aliments du Québec and Équiterre, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ).
This partnership has enabled all the schools accompanied by Équiterre since 2018 to quantify their local food procurement and obtain an official recognition. This quantification work allows schools to obtain a portrait of their food supply and to benefit from personalized recommendations from Aliments du Québec au menu to increase the proportion of local food. In addition, this quantification allows the teams to set targets for the following years.
Équiterre supports schools in their efforts to purchase local products through tools such as practical information sheets, webinars, and connections with the Family Farmers Network.
The Farm to School Quebec project provides opportunities for students and school communities to make informed food choices that help to establish regional food systems, which in turn increase our provincial food sovereignty. Both sustainable and resilient, these regional food systems are good for the health of citizens, communities and the planet.
The benefits of sustainable food procurement initiatives implemented in schools are significant at several levels:
- Health: they provide students and members of the school community with access to a wide variety of fresh and healthy foods;
- Local economy: they stimulate local and regional businesses by encouraging partnerships with local farmers and artisanal processors, thereby making it possible to achieve greater food sovereignty;
- Environment: they encourage behaviours that promote sustainable habits among students, in addition to making them aware of the many environmental issues surrounding food (transportation, pesticides, food waste, packaging, etc.);
- Education: they help educate students about the importance of their food choices, teaching them about how the agri-food system works, from soil to plate.
Photo credit : École Chavigny, Trois-Rivières
Sustainable food supply initiatives are also beneficial for school staff members:
- Appreciation: they instill pride in offering the best to students and members of the school community, and provide the opportunity to enhance knowledge, deploy creativity and mobilize teams;
- Satisfaction: they are appreciated by students and members of the school community and promote a greater sense of belonging to the school.
In 2021, Farm to Cafeteria Canada, with the input of over 140 individuals from diverse sectors across the country, has developed the Farm to School Evaluation Framework for Canada to inform our own evaluation work and to give school communities, as well as researchers and policy makers, some guidance on how they can measure what matters. The framework articulates 18 outcomes, 9 high-priority policy or community level indicators and 11 high-priority indicators that people have said that they want to see measured at the school level relating to 4 impact areas: Public Health, Education, Community Economic Development and the Environment.
Farm to School Month
Équiterre is proud to promote Farm to School Month, a pan-Canadian event organized each year in October by the Farm to Cafeteria Canada organization. Partners in the pre-school, school and higher education communities (daycares, schools, after-school services, colleges, universities) are invited to join the Farm to School movement by sharing their activities that promote healthy eating and local and sustainable food.
Whether you decide to organize a fundraising campaign selling organic vegetable baskets, grow fresh herbs in your garden, offer cooking workshops or visit a farm with your class, let yourself be guided by the theme of healthy, local and sustainable food, aimed at helping educate young people about where their food comes from and the joys of healthy eating.
Photo credits : AgrÉcoles, Louis-de-France sch, Trois-Rivières
- Guide de mise en œuvre : Pour un approvisionnement alimentaire local dans les écoles du Québec (English version to come)
- Farm to School: Canada Digs In! initiative
- Recognizing local procurement in 9 Quebec schools (2020) case study
- Farm to Cafeteria Canada website
For answers to your questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Farm to School Quebec is led and implemented by Équiterre, in collaboration with Farm to Cafeteria Canada and with financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ), the Whole Kids Foundation and the Public Health Agency of Canada.