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OUr Guiding principles

School food programs have the potential to improve children's lives, to strengthen communities, and to transform food systems. Several principles based on best practices can ensure these programs live up to their full potential.

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Serve tasty, nourishing and culturally appropriate foods to all children, focusing on vegetables and fruits. Ensure that programs are in line with the revised Canada’s Food Guide, foster a healthy food environment, and promote mental health and wellbeing.

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Ensure that ALL children in a school can access the program in a non-stigmatizing manner. Over time, all children in Canada will be able to participate in a school food program.

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Use federal funding to both expand on current provincial, city, parental and community funding and to initiate new programs in a cost-shared model.

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Flexible and locally adapted 

Successful school food programs reflect the local context of the school and region and are connected to and informed by students and their parents or caregivers. Ensure that funding builds on existing programs, local knowledge, skills and relationships and that it supports different food service models, from breakfast to lunch to snacks.

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Committed to Indigenous Control over Programs for Indigenous Students

Embed Indigenous Food Sovereignty in a School Food Program for Canada and negotiate funding for school food programs with First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders.

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A Driver of Community Economic Development

Encourage school food programs to set local and sustainably produced food purchasing targets, which would create jobs for Canadian farmers and local food producers. 

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Promoting of Food Literacy

Support the conditions for school food programs to be integrated into the curriculum and enable food literacy and experiential food skills education.

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Supported by Guidance and Accountability Measures

Build on provincial and territorial school food funding and policies to ensure that programs have strong public accountability measures in place and are guided by Canada-wide nutritional standards, conflict of interest safeguards that prevent programs from marketing unhealthy food and specific products, as well as a framework for consistent Canada-wide program evaluation.

These principles have been informed by the article "The case for a Canadian national school food program" in the Canadian Food Studies Journal Vol 5 No 3 (2018).

Download a summary of qualities that members of the Coalition would like to see in a School Food Program for Canada.

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