New Grant brings more Local Food to Southwestern Ontario Schools

- Greenbelt Fund Announces Third Round of Grants -

WINDSOR, ON, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Hundreds of children in southwestern Ontario will be eating more Ontario food through their school Student Nutrition Programs. With support from the Ontario government more local food is reaching the plates of schools. The Greenbelt Fund is providing a grant to the Victorian Order of Nurses in southwestern Ontario to create a farm to school program, placing greater emphasis on buying local food and teaching about the importance of local food to students

Thanks to the Greenbelt Fund more Ontario food is also being served at hospitals, long-term care facilities, daycares, universities and colleges. The grants announced today will support 11 innovative projects adding to the 27 projects already underway.

Serving more than 480 Student Nutrition Programs across the region, this grant is assisting schools in procuring and serving local food to students. VON will work to develop a model to centralize purchasing and redistribute ready-to-serve meals to the individual schools. An integral part of this program involves other institutions such as the University of Western Ontario to act as food hubs to minimally process and pack food for schools to pick up.

The Fund is assisting small to large farm operations and food distributors in working together to bring more Ontario food into the food value chain. Results to date include significant increases to Ontario food purchased at institutions across the province and new jobs within the sector. Projects within health care institutions, municipalities and food service are resulting in more Ontario food on menus and increasing student, patient and resident satisfaction.

"This type of innovative funding helps to bridge the gap between farmers and institutional consumers. It takes Ontario agriculture from fresh in the field to fresh on the plate."
- Ted McMeekin, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

"Providing access to local fresh foods and teaching our youth about their benefits is an essential and welcomed addition in Windsor and Essex County. This innovative partnership will bring local food into schools and help ensure a healthier southwestern Ontario."
- Teresa Piruzza, MPP for Windsor West

"As a father, I am 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."
- Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Greenbelt Fund

"The Student Nutrition Programs feed hundreds of children in our region. This grant will help ensure that kids are not only eating more Ontario food, but learning about the bounty food that is produced right in our region."
- Stephanie Segave, Regional Manager, Ontario Student Nutrition Program (Southwest Region), Victorian Order of Nurses

About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund is a sister organization of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.  With funding from the Ontario Government, the Fund is helping to increase the amount of Ontario food served in daycares, schools, universities and colleges, hospitals and long-term care facilities through its program, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.

This program provides grants to local food industry leaders, producers, distributors, food service providers and public institutions working to serve more Ontario food. Helping to overcome challenges, support economic growth and the sustainability of agriculture in Ontario, the Fund's goal is to help create systemic change to permanently increase the amount of local food in the province's public institutions.  For more information about the program and grants, please visit www.bpsinvestmentfund.ca.

SOURCE Greenbelt Fund

For further information:

For more information or to book an interview, please contact:

Julienne Spence
Communications Manager, Greenbelt Fund
Office: 416-960-0001, ext. 311
Mobile: 416-795-8892 
jspence@greenbeltfund.ca

Mark Cripps
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Office: 416-326-3069
mark.cripps@ontario.ca


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