Nfld. & Labrador

Federal grants help schools put crunch in their lunch

Eating your veggies could be more fun if you have a hand in growing them.

Funding will teach students about where their food comes from

Students at St. Bon's in St. John's got money from the Farm to School program two years ago and are already enjoying the fruits of their labour. (Food First NL)

Three Newfoundland and Labrador schools are getting federal money to set up salad bars and other food-related programs, in a partnership with local farmers.

The grants, valued at $10,000, come through the Farm to School Canada program, which aims to teach children more about where their food comes from.

"I think it's important that we educate our youth around food sustainability," said Kyran Dwyer, principal of St. Teresa's Elementary in St. John's, which received a grant.

"Where food comes from and the value of it, of course the importance of eating healthy nutritious food like vegetables. Our goal is to have a salad bar towards the last quarter of next year."

Clarenville Middle School and Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School in Corner Brook were also chosen for the program, along with 30 other schools across the country.        

The schools will be partnered with farmers, fishers and food producers in their area — similar to a partnership already in place between St. Bonaventure's College in St. John's and Lester's Farm.

A new direction

"There is a food revolution afoot in Canadian schools," said Joanne Bays, national director of Farm to Cafeteria Canada.

"Parents, teachers, students and food service workers are clamouring for a fresh crunch in the school lunch, and local farmers and fishers are eager to deliver," she said in a news release.

"We are excited about the opportunity to continue to seed, feed and watch this movement grow."

The education manager for Food First NL Sarah Ferber believes local food means almost everything.

"The type of food procured by public institutions can play a big role in shaping the health, economy and food system in our province," Ferber said in a news release.

"By partnering local schools with food producers in their community, we're bringing healthier food into our schools, and fostering lifelong healthy eating habits and 'eat local' attitudes in our children, while strengthening local food systems and economics, by providing farmers, fishers and food producers with more venues for sales of their goods."

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About the Author

Mike Moore

Journalist

Mike Moore is a journalist who works with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.