Food Secure Canada Discussion Paper: School Food and Sustainable Development Goals

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Author: Sustain Ontario

Posted: July 20, 2021

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

Food Secure Canada (FSC) has released a new discussion paper detailing how well-designed school food programs could contribute to all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Launched in 2015, the SDGs are the “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” All United Nations Member States, including Canada, are committed to meeting the SDGs by 2030.

With this in mind, Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national school food program.

In 2019, the Government of Canada announced that it will work towards a National School Food Program. This was later made an action area of the Food Policy for Canada.

There is an opportunity here. How could a national school food program help Canada advance its SDG commitments?

The FSC paper, School Food and the Sustainable Development Goals: A pathway to meeting multiple goals and targets, outlines how school food programs can advance multiple SDGs and their associated targets, as school food is directly relevant to meeting nine SDGS, and indirectly relevant to the remaining eight:

FSC explains on page 4 that the paper has been developed to inform future thinking and conversations on school food and the SDGs and to better enable policymakers and practitioners in Canada to:

  • Understand how different school food programs can help advance the SDGs;
  • Advocate for investments in comprehensive school food initiatives; and
  • Design school food programs so that they move forward the multiple economic, social, environmental and health objectives of the SDGs

The Coalition for Healthy School Food (which Sustain is a member of) has shared a set of guiding principles based on best practices for school food programs. This discussion paper concludes by recommending that Canada advance its commitment to develop a national school food program in line with these guiding principles, leading to a well-designed program for Canada and our SDG commitments.

We encourage you to read and share this discussion paper.

To learn more about school food’s potential to support Sustainable Development Goals, check out this recording from a recent Coalition webinar on Brazil’s National School Food Program.