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Fresh from the Farm, Healthy Fundraising for Ontario Schools

Courtesy of Fresh from the Farm

Fresh from the Farm is an innovative and healthy new fundraising program that provides schools with the opportunity to raise funds by selling fresh Ontario fruit and vegetables to their community, while supporting Ontario’s farmers.

Fresh from the Farm has been a successful partnership between the Dietitians of Canada, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, and the Province of Ontario. Since 2013, 294 participating schools have sold over $729,000 of local produce to Ontario families. That’s about 744,000 pounds of Ontario apples, carrots, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes!

For every public dollar invested, the program has returned $2.30 back into Ontario’s economy, while supporting our schools and farmers. Fresh from the Farm also made use of Facebook and Twitter to help raise the profile of the program. For example, #FarmFactFriday was used to increase awareness about local food and help the community know where their food comes from by connecting them to Ontario growers.

In 2015-2016, Fresh from the Farm engaged with food bloggers to raise awareness about the fundraising campaign and had them prepare a special recipe using the food purchased through the program. Some of the experiences they blogged about included:

  • Jennifer at oneheartonefamily.com was happy to have the opportunity to bring fresh Ontario produce to her school, and to help to feed their community, as a third of the total bundles ordered were donated to the local Food Bank! Her school put the $2,000 raised towards an outdoor classroom.
  • Carol at yummylunchclub.ca wrote, “Imagine the Fresh from the Farm stories kids will have, seeing waist high piles of fresh carrots for pick up, the teacher who made sweet potato soup in class or the fight for the last apple in the box. Wouldn’t that be terrific?
  • Julie at soberjulie.com prepared delicious Apple Crisp and Shortbread Bars with her Ontario apples.

Combined, all these efforts helped promote this exciting new program, especially in communities where that awareness didn’t previously exist. Their ultimate goal is to make Fresh from the Farm province-wide by 2017-2018, and we are committed to helping them do just that.

For more information about Fresh from the Farm and to check if your local school is eligible to sign up, please visit www.freshfromfarm.ca.

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other great featured articles from local business and producers across Ontario!

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