About Farm to School BC
Farm to School BC brings healthy, local and sustainable food into schools across British Columbia and provides students with hands-on learning opportunities that develop food literacy, all while strengthening the local food system and enhancing school and community connectedness.
Farm to school activities differ by school, but always include the following three elements:
- Healthy, Local Food
- Hands-on Learning
- School & Community Connectedness
Farm to School BC is a program of the Public Health Association of BC and is supported by the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority.
Healthy, local, and sustainable food on the plates and minds of all students in BC.
Working with communities and partners, Farm to School BC seeks to empower and support schools in building comprehensive farm to school programs that support vibrant, sustainable, regional food systems, develop student food literacy, and enhance school and community connectedness.
- Support the development of sustainable regional food systems in BC by bringing more healthy, local, and sustainable food into BC schools.
- Promote healthy eating in schools by increasing access to healthy food and encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Advance experiential, hands-on learning opportunities related to food systems and the development of student food literacy.
- Enhance school and community connectedness.
- Develop promising farm to school practice models that are sustainable, self-financing, eco-friendly, and have the potential to be implemented elsewhere.
Examples of Farm to School BC activities
- school & community gardens
- tower gardens
- hot lunch programs
- salad bars
- native plant gardens
- school farms
- farm visits
- cooking classes
- fruit gleaning programs
- tool/equipment purchases
- Farm to School BC started in 2007 with one pilot farm to school salad bar program at Dragon Lake Elementary School in Quesnel BC in collaboration with Northern Health.
- In 2014, the first Farm to School BC Regional Hubs were established in three regions: Capital, Kamloops, and Vancouver.
- In 2018, three more Regional Hubs were established: Surrey, Northwest, and Nanaimo North (renamed Central Island in 2020/21).
- In 2021, Farm to School BC expanded to include a North Central Regional Hub and a pilot Regional Hub in the Sunshine Coast.
As of 2021:
- Farm to School BC has been active for 14 years
- Farm to School BC has funded over 271 farm to school programs across BC
- Farm to School BC provides in-person support to 19 school districts
Farm to School BC Evaluation Summary Report – 2019
The Public Health Association of BC contracted Howegroup Public Sector Consultants to conduct an external evaluation of Farm to School BC with the intention to determine the program’s impact on students’ fruit and vegetable consumption, social and emotional health, learning outcomes and program sustainability.
The Farm to School BC evaluation was carried out between September 2018 and June 2019. The evaluation was guided by an Evaluation Working Group, consisting of representatives from health authorities, Farm to School BC community animators and Provincial Health Services Authority, who had substantial input into the development of the evaluation framework.