From a release
The Chatham-Kent Student Nutrition Program (CKSNP) is taking a leadership role in delivering student nutrition programs by establishing the area’s first Farm to School nutrition pilot program to provide locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to eight participating schools. Joining CKSNP in the pilot are organizational partners Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit and the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON).
The pilot program, launched on March 31, has partnered with eight local farmers to provide apples, peppers, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and dehydrated sweet potato chips to students 4 days per week. A partnership with the Essex County Gleaners provides the chips made from sweet potatoes, as well as kale, beets and bananas. The program will run until June 6th.
Elaine Lewis, Chatham-Kent Coordinator reported, “Consumption of fruits and vegetables here in Chatham-Kent is low and this is one venue for encouraging our youth towards healthier eating today and a healthier future.”
Student Nutrition Programs provide healthy meals and snacks in schools, provide opportunities in health education and the opportunity for students to develop life-long healthy eating habits. The Farm to School program provides students with the opportunity to learn about local food production and students are encouraged to support local farmers and Chatham-Kent businesses.
“Farm to School programs foster better relationships between local farmers and youth. This relationship encourages life-long healthy eating habits and supports local economies,” said Jillian McCallum, Food and Logistics Coordinator for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program.
It is estimated that if every household in Ontario spent only $10 per week on local food we would add $2.4 billion to the provincial economy and create 10,000 jobs (Lynn Ogryzlo, The $10 Challenge). Viewed this way, the potential economic benefit of schools buying local food is enormous.
The Chatham-Kent Student Nutrition Program provides healthy meals and snacks universally to over 50 schools locally. Over 5,200 students are currently registered in the program. Assisting students to increase their nutrition levels will enable them to make the best of their educational opportunities.