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Provincial Commitments

After years of advocacy for dedicated school food funding, in Budget 2023 the BC Government invested $214.5 million over three years to support sustainable, healthy school food programs across British Columbia. This is the single largest investment in school food in Canadian history, and is a critical and exciting first step towards a universal school food program for all BC students. Read our press release here.

 

Timeline of provincial commitments to school food

  • 2019: Multi-partisan support for public investment in school food; commitments to school food included in BC NDP and Green party election platforms.

  • 2020: Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Education conducted a Tri-Ministry School Food Survey.

  • 2020: Two Ministerial mandate letters included directives to create more local school meal programs in partnership with school districts (BC Ministry of Education and Child Care, and BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food).

  • 2022: New Student and Family Affordability Fund includes support for school food programs.

  • 2023: Feeding Futures announced!

About Feeding Futures

 

The BC Government’s new Feeding Futures Program aims to address the “top two barriers [to delivering school food programs] identified by schools in the province, which is sustainable and consistent food funding and human resources”.  In Year 1 (2023/2024 school year), there will be  $71.5M for targeted food funding and staff, and $5M for capital enhancements via the new School Food Infrastructure Program (FIP). Funds will be distributed from the Ministry of Education and Child Care to school districts with some high level guidelines, but decisions about how the money will be spent and what programs will look like will be made at local levels. 

To find out how Feeding Futures funding is being used in your district, contact your district’s school food coordinator, Feeding Futures manager, or superintendent (who can help direct you to the right staff person).

This new funding is expected to reach the 20% of the students who are facing food insecurity across the province. School districts are encouraged to offer healthy, local foods and deliver programs in a stigma-free manner. Communication about this funding has emphasized the need to collaborate and partner with community organizations such as parent advisory councils and local NGOs. 

See here for the BC Chapter’s response to this historic Feeding Futures investment.

Our recommendations to school districts planning for Feeding Futures programs:

  • This funding is long term! Go slow. Use the 2023/2024 school year as a planning year, making sure everything is in place to expand organically and build a sustainable program.

  • Take advantage of Feeding Futures funds to hire a full time school food coordinator for the 2023/2024 school year (see our template job description as examples). This is especially critical in the first year to plan out sustainable programs.

  • Create permanent School Food Committees to inform the development of district-wide school food programs. This may include people who know nutrition (public health staff), people who know education systems (district and school staff), people who know food (chefs/producers), and people who know food systems (NGOs).

  • Engage in community consultation during the 2023/2024 school year. Collective visioning and surveying schools has been a good place to start for some districts.  

For more information on building healthy and sustainable school food programs (taking a Farm to School approach), see this webinar recording.

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