CAN (ON): Fresh from the Farm grows food awareness and raises funds

Ontario's Government for the People is joining with the Dietitians of Canada and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association in celebrating the Fresh from the Farm initiative which brings fresh Ontario grown food to communities while supporting local schools.

Ontario schools participating in the Fresh from the Farm fundraising effort generated an average of $2,040 through sales of almost 770 kilograms of fresh produce per school this year.

"Students and staff at 554 schools across the province worked exceptionally hard in their communities to harvest orders for fresh Ontario produce," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "I want to commend everyone involved in this great project - from the farmers to the students - for developing an innovative way to promote Ontario produce and support our schools."

"We are pleased to partner with OMAFRA, the Dietitians of Canada and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association on Fresh from the Farm. This innovative program allows students to learn firsthand where their food comes from, provides schools with the opportunity to raise funds by selling Ontario vegetables and fruit to the community, and supports Ontario's rural economy," said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education.

On average, schools retained $817 in profits for school initiatives. In the past schools used these funds to support travel and entry fees for sports competitions or school band trips, student retreats, upgrades to sporting facilities, school yard improvement projects, scholarships or bursaries, and charitable purposes.

To date, 1,713 schools have participated in Fresh from the Farm, raising funds by selling 1,657,219 kilograms (3,653,543 pounds) of healthy Ontario fruits and vegetables. In its sixth year, Fresh from the Farm has raised a total of $4,048,849 through the efforts of students and staff.

Schools will keep 40 per cent of funds raised through the Fresh from the Farm program, 50 per cent of sales are returned to Ontario's farmers, and 10 per cent goes to Fresh from the Farm to ensure the program's longevity.

Fresh from the Farm is committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its produce from Ontario.

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