Network Activities

Network Action Plan

Since January 2012, the Network has been taking steps to better understand and identify actions to support all of you who are working with children, youth, and healthy food systems.

Summary of priority actions:

The following summarizes our current priorities for action (more info is available under the summary).

** Section numbers refer to those in the comprehensive Action Plan

1) Advocacy:

Passionate about parsley, James Robinson P.S., Markham the first Seeds For Change school garden in York Region. Credit: Lynne Koss.

Passionate about parsley at James Robinson P.S., Markham, the first Seeds For Change school garden in York Region. Credit: Lynne Koss.

  • Campaign for Universal Student Nutrition Program with a strong food literacy focus (build on Healthy Kids Strategy recommendations 2.8 and 2.9) (C.1.1)
  • Advocate for the Government of Ontario to recognize school gardens as important places for food literacy (C.1.3)
  • Advocate for cooking and food skills programs to be made accessible to all Ontario children (C.1.4)

2) Information Sharing and Coordinated Action:

Ontario Agri-Food Education's (OAFE) core program is the Teacher Ambassador Program™. Teacher Ambassadors (TA's) are Ontario Certified Teachers who receive additional training in the fields of agriculture and food from OAFE. Classroom educators in grades 7-12 can request an in-class TA lesson for FREE. There are ten lesson options to choose from, covering a wide variety of hot topics in agri-food. TA's also facilitate special programs and events for OAFE, such as the Ag in the Aisles™ program and student tours at Canada's Outdoor Farm Show. For more information on OAFE and the Teacher Ambassador program, visit www.oafe.org.

Ontario Agri-Food Education’s (OAFE) Teacher Ambassador (TA) Program™ is run by Ontario Certified Teachers. TA’s deliver FREE lessons to grade 7-12 classes and facilitate events like Ag in the Aisles™ (as seen above). Visit www.oafe.org

  • Share organizations’ stories, successes, challenges, and contacts using the Network website and newsletter (see A.2.1, B.1.2, B.1.5, B.1.7, B.1.9, B.1.11, B.2.1, A.1.4, A.1.2)
  • Develop and promote a searchable directory of organizations that includes types of programs offered, skills and resources to share, opportunities for mentorship, and other directory information (see B.1.3)
  • Coordinate the development of local food action hubs among community organizations that have delivered local food in schools projects (A.1.9)

3) Resource Development:

A lesson on soil at Evergreen Heights in Emsdale. They used micro-scopes and magnifying glasses and gathered soil specimens from a variety of places to see which was most alive. Below the tipi is an example of their chicken chart which gaged the class chicken's growth by using math and science and practicing observation skills. Credit: Kelli Ebbs.

A lesson on soil for the Farmers in the Playground program at Evergreen Heights in Emsdale. Credit: Kelli Ebbs.

  • Develop a comprehensive snap shot of the state of student nutrition programs in Ontario with metrics and success stories (see B.1.13)
  • Create and share resources for schools, parents, community members and organizations to use to advocate for food literacy programming and increased resources for SNPs (presentations, hand-outs, fact sheets, case studies, toolkits, videos, social media campaign, etc.) (B.4.1)
  • Develop and implement (a) age-appropriate benchmarks and (b) a common evaluation tool for food literacy and food skills (see A.1.8, A.2.3, B.3.6, B.4.4)
  • Compile scans on community and school gardens (in progress) (B.3.2)
  • Compile updated scan on regional food hubs (in progress) (B.3.3)
  • Prepare a tip sheet for community organizations to approach school boards (B.4.2)
  • Develop a directory of outside-the-classroom food education programs that can be used by teachers (B.1.8)
  • Prepare a factsheet of ‘how gardens impact the community’ to use in educating funders and in other communications efforts (A.2.2, B.4.3)
  • Develop a list / point to existing lists of possible relevant grantors (B.1.6)

How we arrived at these priorities, and additional documents

Building keyhole paths in The Stop CFC's gardens.

Building keyhole paths in The Stop’s gardens. Credit: The Stop CFC.

In Phase 1 of our action planning process, we conducted an environmental scan and needs assessment (see a summary of responses to our preliminary survey from January 2012 – February 2013). In Phase 2 of our action planning process teams were selected to explore specific needs and opportunities relating to 6 priority areas of the network and to develop a network action plan (see our call for applicants for more information about the process). For the results of this process and what we heard see:

All of these are living documents – they will change and evolve as the Network moves forward.

Contact:

We would love to hear your feedback, answer or your questions, or get you involved in helping us move this plan forward. To get in touch, please contact Carolyn Webb, Coordinator for the Ontario Edible Education Network: cwebb@sustainontario.ca.

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