On 22nd November, Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education, congratulated schools participating in the Fresh from the Farm fundraising program for their efforts in promoting Ontario produce while helping to increase funds for extracurricular activities. The annual program provides a unique and healthy fundraising opportunity that benefits local schools, supports our farmers and promotes healthy eating to Ontario families.
"Fresh from the Farm provides an innovative opportunity for Ontario students to learn about the healthy, nutritious food our hardworking farmers grow while also supporting their local schools' extracurricular programming," said Hardeman. "We also appreciate the coordination effort of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association and each school that participates in this great program."
Schools keep 40 per cent of the funds raised which are used to support initiatives like school yard improvement projects and fun, educational class trips, as well as other supplementary or after-school programs.
Fresh from the Farm is a collaborative initiative between the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association and the Ontario government. This year, 471 schools took part and have generated over $862,355 for extracurricular activities by selling 713,612 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
"I join Minister Hardeman in encouraging healthy eating and lifestyles for our students, while promoting the interests of Ontario farmers," said Minister Lecce. "I thank the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association for teaching children with pride about the good things grown in Ontario."
"The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is pleased to be working with government to deliver the seventh year of the Fresh from the Farm school fundraising program. Once again, the program has been a success with over 710,000 pounds of Ontario-grown apples and root vegetables sold and nearly $350,000 raised for schools. The OFVGA looks forward to continuing this partnership with government in 2020 to support school fundraising, access to local food and Ontario farmers." Bill George Jr., Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association.
Since 2013, almost 2,200 schools have participated in Fresh from the Farm. Collectively, the schools have distributed over 4.3 million pounds of fresh, local fruit and vegetables to Ontario families, generating a total of almost $5 million in local food sales across the province.