Students sold almost 465,000 pounds of Ontario potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes and apples to raise money for their schools this past September. This represents a 287 per cent increase in the amount of produce sold over 2014. (Click photos for more information.)
View the embedded image gallery online at:“The spike in sales was a delightful surprise and our growers quickly rose to the challenge of meeting the increased demand,” says Cathy O’Connor, project coordinator with Dietitians of Canada.
“Fresh from the Farm is in its third year of a pilot project and we have demonstrated great success through annual expansion.”
A WIN-WIN FOR STUDENTS, SCHOOLS AND FARMERS
The program is a win-win for students, schools and farmers, as 40 per cent of the revenue goes back to schools and farmers receive market price for top quality produce.
“It’s a great way to build the domestic market for Ontario grown produce,” says Alison Robertson, program manager with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, “while helping to instill healthy eating habits in the next generation of consumers.”
Fresh from the Farm not only puts healthy foods into the hands of families, it provides opportunities for introducing the related topics of agriculture, food and healthy eating into the classroom.
“The program raises the awareness of the importance of good nutrition in the development and well-being of our children,” adds O’Connor.
GROWING INTEREST BY SCHOOLS
Plans for the 2016 fundraising event will begin in December. News of the success of Fresh from the Farm is spreading to parents and educators, resulting in many new school boards requesting to participate in the upcoming year.
One of the program’s main goals is to develop a sustainable model through gradual expansion across the province by 2017.
The program’s growers are located throughout southwest and northern Ontario. Interested grower-partners for next year are encouraged to visit the website for additional information www.freshfromfarm.ca
ABOUT FRESH FROM THE FARM
Fresh from the Farm is a collaborative initiative between Dietitians of Canada, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, the Ontario Ministry of Education, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. To find out more, visit the Fresh From the Farm website.
ABOUT DIETITIANS OF CANADA
Dietitians of Canada is the national professional association for dietitians, representing 6,000 members at the local, provincial and national level. As the voice of the profession, Dietitians of Canada strives for excellence in advancing health through food and nutrition. For more information, visit the Dietitians of Canada website.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION
The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association is the voice of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers on issues affecting the edible horticulture sector.