TORONTO — A campaign to provide Ontario students with locally grown food has received a grant under The Greenbelt Fund. The fund will provide a contribution to the Victorian Order of Nurses in southwestern Ontario, allowing the VON to create a farm-to-school scheme, placing emphasis on buying food locally, and teaching students the importance of local food.
Speaking about the initiative, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Greenbelt Fund, says, “as a father, I’m pleased to see more Ontario food reaching our daycares and schools. The leadership taken by the Victorian Order of Nurses presents a model that can be replicated for other programs like this across the province.”
The Greenbelt Fund is responsible for more Ontario food being served at hospitals, long-term care facilities, daycares, universities and colleges. The grants support 11 innovative projects adding to the more than two dozen projects already underway.
Serving close to 500 student nutrition programs in the region, the injection of funds assists schools in procuring and serving local food to pupils. VON will develop a model to centralize purchasing and redistribute ready-to-serve meals to individual schools. An integral part of the program involves other institutions, such as the University of Western Ontario, to act as hubs to process and pack food for schools to collect.
Ted McMeekin, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, says the funding is innovative, “this type of innovative funding helps to bridge the gap between farmers and institutional consumers.”
The Greenbelt Fund is a sister organization of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, and operates under the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.