Schools in Vancouver have grown, prepared and served local food with students for many years. These efforts have been supported by a wide variety of local organizations for decades. Between 2009 to 2015, the Think&EatGreen@School project out of UBC convened a diverse community of learners in community engaged scholarship, investigating ways to create a more healthy, sustainable school food system within the Vancouver School Board.
Since 2010 a network of community organizations called the Vancouver School Food Network has supported professional development in the region and connected community practitioners and leaders. It was around this time that the Vancouver Region Farm to School Steering Committee also came together as a collective of organizations seeking funding support for further grant, project and evaluation for Farm to School in the region. At the time, Farm to School was very much seen as a salad bar program, and therefore was seen as a parallel movement alongside the Vancouver School Food Network.
Over the last five years the Farm to School movement has taken shape within a much broader and comprehensive framework that can see all of the work of partner organizations within the Vancouver School Food Network’s work as contributing expertise, resources and funding to schools within the core elements of a comprehensive Farm to School program. The Vancouver Region Farm to School Network is now working with Farm to School schools and stakeholders to unite our shared vision of healthy, local, sustainable food on the plates and minds of all students.
The Vancouver Hub Region for Farm to School BC is currently governed by a core steering committee of representatives from: Vancouver Coastal Health, the Vancouver Board of Education, the North Vancouver School District, Fraser Health, and Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society. A wider community advisory meets two to three times per year, to provide input and context on key decisions and issues. Our regional Community Animator actively participates in school food networks and meetings, working to liaise between and connect diverse stakeholders while communicating the shared vision and purpose behind our work. We help connect schools to community partners and promote a narrative and vision of Farm to School Programming in the region.