A Q&A Lesson in Local Food Literacy: How can I source locally grown foods for my school?

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Author: Josie Di Felice

Posted: April 3, 2018

Categories: Edible Education Network / Good Food Ideas for Kids / GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Ontario / Schools

Celebrating National Kale Day — Primrose Elementary School has made connections with local food & local producers in many ways, including through a local food club. Learn more here.

The previous blog post in our Local Food Literacy blog series offered some farm-to-school inspiration by sharing stories about exemplary cafeterias. There are so many schools across the province and country that are doing what they can to put local food on their school menus.

But what if you just don’t know where to get started?

This week, we’re going to dig a little further, and narrow in on some resources that can help your school access and source locally grown foods…

Q: I’m not an expert at navigating the food system and don’t know where to get locally grown foods. How can I get started?

There are many great ways to source local food in your community:

  • Look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs and connect with local farms and local farmers’ markets. Many farmers are really keen to connect with local schools.
  • Many neighbourhoods have developed local food maps, for instance the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Get Fresh, Eat Local food guide includes locations of farmers’ markets and other places to buy local vegetables and fruit, meats, honey, syrups and jams. https://www.healthunit.com/eating-local

These resources can help schools access local food:

FoodLand Ontario

The FoodLand Ontario site provides links to local food sources as well as free resources for teachers and students such as posters, activity sheets, kid-friendly info about Ontario fruits and veggies, and availability guides to look up what’s in season.


Ontariofresh.ca is a platform that can help schools across Ontario connect with local farmers and local food.

Alternative Avenues for Local Food in Schools: Ingredients for Success (Ecosource and Roots to Harvest)

This publication provides learnings from 7 pilot projects that took place in Durham, Peel and Thunder Bay regions: CSA; Local Food Month; Focus on Garlic; Farm to School; Farm to Caf; Friday Fry Day; School Gardens; Field to Fork.


For more information about how to source locally-grown food for your school, access our Building Field to Table Connections: Tips for Procuring Local Food in Schools
tipsheet → https://sustainontario.com/2017/11/07/34015/news/building-field-to-table-connections-tips-for-procuring-local-food-in-schools


Local Food Inspiration
“The Fall CSA produce was awesome. My students enjoyed learning about new vegetables that they had not seen, touched or tasted before. They especially loved the mysterious taste of the ground cherries and the challenge of creating dishes out of that week’s harvest. The recipe for the dinosaur kale salad was great help, too.”
Ramil Andaya, Secondary School Teacher, purchased a CSA share for his hospitality class and attended Ecosource’s Harvest Celebration to celebrate Farm To School Month.


The above content comes from the Local Food Literacy in Schools FAQ Guide, developed by Sustain Ontario, EcosourceFoodShare and Roots to Harvest.