Momentum is building across Canada and in Saskatchewan for a national school food program!
Several groups are actively involved in promoting school food in Saskatchewan and are members of the national Coalition for Healthy School Food, a group of organizations seeking federal investment in a Universal Healthy School Food Program to support the health, well-being and education of all Canadian children.
In Saskatchewan, some school divisions report having a school meal program in at least one school, but not all schools have programs.
These programs are organized at the school or division level and largely rely on charitable organizations and others in the school community for funding. This patchwork of programming does not meet the needs of all students for access to healthy, nutritious food. We need the development of national standards, as well as significant investment from federal, provincial and municipal governments (to supplement the contributions of school communities, businesses and volunteers) and collaboration between stakeholder groups to create a universal program for all children and youth from K to 12.
There are several ongoing or recently completed studies on school food in Saskatchewan. A team at the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit and the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan has conducted 1) a study of what kids in and around Saskatoon are eating at school and 2) a review of promising practices from across Canada for school food programs. This Fall the team is conducting a study of parents’/caregivers’ attitudes to school food programs.
The school food research group is also working towards a population health intervention study of a universal, curriculum-integrated school lunch program in partnership with the Saskatoon Public Schools Division and CHEP Good Food Inc. This study is will begin in 2020.
If you are interested in any of the Saskatchewan school food research projects please contact Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Groups in Saskatchewan are bringing together stakeholders from diverse regions and sectors across Saskatchewan to engage in dialogue, share resources, and collaborate on collective advocacy, research and pilot projects. Together, we can help secure a brighter future for our children through a universal healthy school food program.
For more information, contact Dana Folkerson, Executive director, REACH or Rachel Engler-Stringer, Saskatchewan Coalition Steering Committee member.
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Many national organizations also work on school food in Saskatchewan.