Jeff Leal, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, and Mitzie Hunter, minister of education, met with students from Perth Avenue Junior Public School in Toronto today to help sort and bundle fresh, local fruit and vegetables to take home to their families.
View the embedded image gallery online at:“This program provides valuable opportunities for our students to connect with farmers while learning more about the nutritious fruits and veggies grown in Ontario,” said Leal. “Buying local not only supports our province’s nearly 50,000 family farms but it tastes good too.”
Fresh from the Farm is a collaborative partnership between the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Dietitians of Canada and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
This year, nearly 500 schools across Ontario have participated in this unique fundraising program where students have raised over $1 million dollars to support their schools by selling locally grown produce including carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and apples.
“Students and families benefit from easy access to Ontario-grown vegetables and fruit,” said Jennifer Buccino, regional executive director with Dietitians of Canada. “Fresh from the Farm has a very positive impact on healthy eating and food literacy, and we look forward to continued growth of the program, building on the great support from school communities.”
Since 2013, more than 1100 schools have participated, generating nearly $3 million in local food sales representing more than 2.7 million pounds of Ontario’s fresh produce.
After five years of continuous growth, the program has shown there is demand for a healthy alternative in schools, said Dan Tukendorf, program manager, OFVGA. “Fresh from the Farm not only supports Ontario schools but also supports Ontario’s economy by providing Ontario fruit and vegetable farmers with alternate markets for their healthy products.”