Farm to Cafeteria Canada News
March 2016, Issue 5

Local food on the public plate:

Stories from across Canada 

Scaling up Through Food Procurement Learning Labs

Newfoundland, a province known as The Rock, is not known for its farmland but is known for its culinary creativity and for making the most of resources on the edge of the Atlantic. When the School Lunch Association, a charitable school food service provider on the Avalon Peninsula, decided to join the local food movement, they knew there would be obstacles. More

Alternative Avenues to Local Food in Schools: Ingredients for Success

This report  provides the current school food context in 3 regions, Durham, Peel, and Thunder Bay, details 7 pilot projects, and includes 8 “Ingredients for Success” or guidelines for implementing local food projects that resulted from the pilots. As you continue to bring local food and food literacy to students, we hope that this report is helpful for you. More

POWER UP! Report Grades Alberta on Healthy Food Environments and Nutrition for Children and Youth

A new report indicates that Alberta’s performance is middle of the road on 41 indicators of healthy food environments and nutrition for children and youth. POWER UP! has just released the first-ever Report Card on Healthy Food Environments and Nutrition for Children and Youth in Alberta. More

Manitoba on the Menu

Schools, post-secondary, healthcare institutions and Crown corporations collectively purchase millions of dollars’ worth of food annually, yet little is known around how much local food has been purchased. At the same time, their large purchasing power and role as public facilities put institutions in a unique position to be positive drivers for growing our local and sustainable food economy. More

Reconnecting with our Culture Through Local Foods.

Beyond connecting with local farms and farmers, Haida Gwaii schools are incorporating hunting, gathering, foraging, gardening and greenhouses into their schools’ food supply. This idea emerged naturally in a place where wild foods are so plentiful and the culture of feasting and sharing food is central to the island culture. More

F2S Salad Bars Take Root in New Brunswick

 A salad bar, particularly one that the students help prepare, offers endless educational and tasting opportunities. At Clement Cormier high school in New Brunswick, carpentry classes renovated the cooking lab, from the floors to the cabinetry. The horticulture classes manage the community garden and planned the installation of a geothermal greenhouse. More

Fruits and Vegetables on the Menu of Health Facilities


Équiterre, the Pointe-de-l’Île School Board and the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de Montréal are unveiling the results of the project Consommer localement, c’est goûter les saveurs d’ici! (Eat local and savour home flavours.) The initiative aims to increase the share of local foods served to residents and employees of the four long-term care facilities of the East-Montreal Integrated University Health and Social Service Centre. 

The project, made possible thanks to the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, confirmed that offering healthy local food in Quebec health facilities is not only highly desirable but also achievable! Through this project, the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal increased the amount of local food served to residents and employees in the four long-term care facilities in the Pointe-de-l’Île sector by mobilizing suppliers, training personnel and organizing fruit and vegetable themed activities. The results include :

  • 26 % of the food served at the four centers are from Quebec
  • More than 150 themed meals featured some 32 fruits and vegetables in 2015
  • Three culinary trainings offered in collaboration with the École hôtelière de Montréal-Calixa Lavallée (catering school) of the Pointe-de-l’Île School Board allowed 25 health facilities employees to learn about Quebec fruits and vegetables and how to integrate them on the menu. Click here to read more!

Scaling up Farm to Healthcare at UBC

British Columbia

Local and healthy food is on everyone’s mind, but is it on everyone’s menu? Campuses and schools have been hugely successful at restructuring their institutional food procurement programs to include more local food. Yet, when we transfer the lens to our healthcare system, which employs and treats millions of Canadians, and represents the quintessence of health, less than a dozen institutions collaborate with their supply chains to incorporate more local and sustainable food in patient menus.
Last year, the Scaling Up: Local Food for Regional Health project, an initiative from the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
, brought together food supply actors involved in the production, transportation, and transformation of food to healthcare institutions and asked them how we could get more local food served in healthcare institutions. What ensued was a series of business meetings and community engagement events that led to the creation of a framework that will equip more farmers to grow food for healthcare institutions. As a result of this process food distribution and transformation businesses are now involved in the farm-to-healthcare team, hospitals are now engaged in conversations with farmers, and last but not least, a community of patients and families of patients are aware, engaged, and involved in the crusade to bring healthier, more sustainable, and more local food to healthcare institution.
"Tasty good nutritious food, well prepared is the greatest way to help sick people get well again. I live in the Kootenays, where there is plenty of good, locally grown produced food, and hospitals should make a good use of it. " Jan Clemson, Trail Hospital patient, UBC Alumni 1958.
Want to know more?  Email:  

Project SOIL looks at viability of on-site food production in public institutions 


Project SOIL has grown from collaborative research relationships developed between My Sustainable Canada, the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care and Nourishing Communities research collective. Led by postdoctoral researcher Phil Mount (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Assistant Professor Irena Knezevic (Carleton University), this three-year project looks at the viability of on-site food production at public institutions.

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the research focuses on a range of benefits associated with institutional gardens and explores opportunities to develop collaborative arrangements with local food producers.

Since 2013, the team has collected data to document the history of institutional food production in Ontario, published four case studies on existing initiatives, supported and documented five pilot projects with their successes and challenges, surveyed and interviewed institutional administrators to gauge interest in initiating new gardens, and mapped available institutional land in Ontario.

Currently, Project SOIL is conducting feasibility assessments and visioning workshops for institutions that are considering on-site gardens. A collaboration with Carleton University’s graduate program in Health: Science, Technology and Policy is also underway. Students in the program are developing an extensive literature review and environmental scan on outcome evaluation strategies related to institutional gardens. Their work will result in a report and toolkit for institutions, set to be released in April of this year.
For research reports and more information, please visit


Building Self-Reliance: Pathways to Healthy, Local and Sustainable Food in Our Institutions

Nova Scotia
A cross-sectoral working group comprised of members of the Ecology Action Centre, FoodARC, and the Nova Scotia Departments of Agriculture and Health & Wellness, among others helped to co-organize an event in early March, including a talk by chef and activist Joshna Maharaj, who explained how she has found success shifting institutional purchasing policies and public dollars to support local and sustainable food in the health care and university sectors, followed by a workshop session. The event had almost 70 in attendance, including Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang as well as others working within a range of settings: schools, universities, health care facilities, large employers, hotels and conference centres, and governments at all levels. They're hoping that this event acts as a catalyst for change, linking recent successes and shifts in institutional procurement in Nova Scotia with the province’s policy levers, such as their Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act mandating that 20% of the money spent on food by Nova Scotians is spent on locally produced food by 2020. See the Adventures in Local Food blog next Tuesday for a longer report.

FEED Comox Valley takes the idea of the 100-mile diet to a whole new level

British Columbia

(Source: InFocus Magazine)

Comox resident Sandra Hamilton started out with a simple question: “What would it take to get a local potato into our hospital cafeteria?”

It was not an idle question, perhaps because Hamilton is not an idle sort of person. She went looking for answers, and now, 18 months later, that question has blossomed into a bold local food-security pilot project that is boosting profits for local farms, garnering attention from communities across Vancouver Island, and promoting a revolutionary new approach to spending tax dollars that puts social sustainability front and centre.

And yes, you will now find local potatoes—and carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and cucumbers—being served in the cafeteria at St. Joseph’s Hospital, as well as at the North Island College cafeteria and at Glacier View Lodge.

The project—dubbed FEED (Food, Environment and Economic Development) Comox Valley—takes the idea of the 100-mile diet to a new level. When our individual buying values and choices are matched by those of our public institutions, the potential for change goes up exponentially. The goal, says Hamilton, is to re-localize our food system and revitalize our economy.

To make this happen, institutions need to change the way they structure food procurement contracts, says Hamilton. Current practice lumps contracts into giant bundles that only large corporations have the ability to fulfill. What is needed is an unbundling, so that fresh, local food is allocated its own contract. This will make these contracts accessible to local farmers. Click here to read more.

North Island College FEED CV web page
FEED Comox Valley: Institutional Supply Chains Video

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