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Promoting Local Food and Healthy Eating in Local Schools

Archived News Release

Promoting Local Food and Healthy Eating in Local Schools

Ontario Supporting Unique Fundraising Program

With the support of Ontario farmers, Ontario is helping students learn more about local food, agriculture and the importance of healthy eating, while also raising funds to support their schools.

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.

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.

Promoting local food and healthy eating in schools is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. This includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Fresh from the Farm is a healthy fundraising program that improves students with food literacy while helping them to get more local fruits and vegetables in lunch boxes across the province.
  • 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.
  • In 2017, the Fresh from the Farm program was available to all publicly funded schools, First Nations schools, and as a pilot, privately funded schools in Toronto were eligible to participate.
  • Fresh from the Farm aligns with Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy and Ontario’s Local Food Act.
  • Since 2013, more than 1,100 schools have participated, generating nearly $3 million in local food sales representing more than 2.7 million pounds of Ontario’s fresh produce.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Congratulations to the nearly 500 schools who participated in Fresh from the Farm this year. This program provides valuable opportunities for our students to connect with farmers while learning more about the nutritious fruits and veggies grown in Ontario. Buying local not only supports our province’s nearly 50,000 family farms but it tastes good too!”

Jeff Leal

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“I am thrilled that so many schools across the province are participating in Fresh from the Farm. This wonderful program allows students to make healthy choices as well as learn about the delicious food grown in Ontario.”

Mitzie Hunter

Minister of Education

“Students and families benefit from easy access to Ontario-grown vegetables and fruit; we are proud of the growth of this program over the past five years and this year's record-setting results of almost 500 schools and over 1 million pounds of produce. 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.”

Jennifer Buccino

Regional Executive Director with Dietitians of Canada

“After five years of continuous growth, the Fresh from the Farm fundraising program has shown there is demand for a healthy alternative in schools. 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. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association looks forward to the continued growth of the program and on behalf of Ontario's fruit and vegetable growers thanks the school communities for supporting local food.”

Dan Tukendorf

Program Manager, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association

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