Ontario Edible Education Network – About

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Check out the new Ontario Edible Education Network website at sustainontario.com/work/edible-education!

Vision, Mission, Values

A network supporting links between children, youth and healthy food in Ontario.

Vision – To have healthy food environments across Ontario where children and youth have equal access to healthy and sustainably produced food, and where food literacy is supported through a range of educational and hands-on activities.

Mission – To bring together groups in Ontario that are connecting children and youth with good food*. The network seeks to better enable these groups to share resources, ideas, and experience, work together on advocacy, and facilitate efforts across the province to get children and youth eating, growing, cooking, celebrating, and learning about healthy, local and sustainably produced food.

We anticipate that this network will include teachers, farmers, student nutrition providers, parents, non-profit organizations, school boards, administrators, kids, public health, food businesses, and many others.

Why we need this Network – For many years educators, parents, and organizations across Ontario have undertaken important work to improve food environments for children and youth. Many others have wanted to initiate such efforts but have lacked the resources or the expertise. The Ontario Edible Education Network developed out of the need for better coordination, information sharing, and advocacy among these individuals and groups to:

1)      Help people teach students about good food practices (e.g., growing, preparing, cooking) that will improve their well-being now and in the future, and

2)      Affect processes and decisions within government and elsewhere that influence opportunities for people to build healthy food environments across Ontario.

Learn more about the need for this network.

Values – As a network, we believe in:

  • Equitywhere all children and youth can access healthy, nutritious, and sustainable foods regardless of their socio-economic status, and where living wages for farmers and food providers are upheld within the local economy.
  • Healthy food environments that encourage children and youth to eat nutritious and nourishing whole foods.
  • Sustainable food production where food is produced, processed and delivered in ways that do not compromise the health and wellbeing of our people, place or planet. Within this we recognize the importance of protecting fertile farmland and increasing access to underutilized urban space for food growing.
  • Diversity (i) of approaches that recognize the existence of cultural differences within and between communities, and (ii) of representation, working toward an ever-increasing diverse and inclusive network.

Goals – That all children and youth:

  • Learn how to grow, prepare, and choose healthy food.
  • Have access to enough healthy, culturally appropriate food every day.
  • Have a strong knowledge of the food system.

Which will enable them to make smart healthy choices, and carry these learned skills through life.

Pursuant to these aims, the network will support:

  • Integrating food and food literacy into the curriculum
  • Working outside of the classroom to educate children and youth about food
  • Establishing and maintaining ecological children’s gardens in schools and communities
  • Establishing and maintaining culinary programs for children and youth
  • Connecting children and youth in schools to local, sustainable food and food producers
  • Building relationships between schools and farms
  • Promoting student nutrition programming (i.e., healthy food programs)
  • Developing local food policy

The Network’s activities will include:

  • Information, resource, and knowledge sharing
  • Mentorship program development
  • Advocacy
  • Capacity building
  • Workshops and training
  • Community engagement

* Good food is nourishing and is grown, processed and prepared in a way that respects producers, consumers, communities and the earth. The concept of “good food” recognizes that food passes through a food system (from seed to plate and back to the earth) that involves multiple relationships and interactions between people, animals, and environmental systems. It therefore has deep regard for human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.