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.


Serve tasty and culturally appropriate whole foods, focusing on vegetables and fruit in line with the revised Canada’s Food Guide that models healthy eating habits.



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



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


Flexible and Respectful 

Successful school food programs reflect the context of the school and region. Ensure that funding supports different food service models, from breakfast to lunch to snacks. Programs should respect local conditions, be culturally appropriate and locally adapted.



Build on existing programs, local knowledge, skills and relationships. School food programs can support local food producers where possible and set local and sustainably produced food purchasing targets.



Promote the values of food literacy and explore how school food programs can be integrated into the curriculum through nutrition and hands-on food systems education.


Guided by Canada-wide Standards

Ensure that programs 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 while at the same time being locally-led and controlled. 


Committed to Indigenous Control over Programs for Indigenous Students 

Ensure lndigenous Food Sovereignty in a School Food Program for Canada.

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.