Submitted by: Prince Edward Island Home and School Federation
BE IT RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation adopt School Food Guiding Principles to assist in the establishment of a provincial school food strategy for all students in P.E.I.; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation requests the Public Schools Branch to adopt the PEI Home and School Federation’s School Food Guiding Principles to lead and assist in the establishment of a provincial school food strategy for all students in P.E.I.
PEI Home and School Federation
School Food Guiding Principles
The PEI Home and School Federation is the umbrella organization of local “home and school” and “parent council” organizations in 55 schools across Prince Edward Island.
We bring together parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and staff to promote the total well-being of children and the highest standards of education for each child in the province.
The Prince Edward Island provincial school food strategy will be a model for how all stakeholders in education can be brought together to promote their shared values for the benefit and wellbeing of all Island children.
The strategy will be developed and nurtured through a collaboration of students, parents and guardians, government departments, primary industries, cooks and chefs. The following principles will guide the implementation of the strategy.
1. We will create school environments that make healthy choices easiest for students.
Good food and authentic hospitality nurture the whole child and invite collaboration and success. We will create inviting and safe environments within schools and provide enough time for eating, discussion, sharing and learning around food. We will offer opportunities for students to open up to new, shared food experiences and local food possibilities.
2. We will create school food programs that are universal, inclusive and equitable.
We will provide adequate, nutritious food to all school-aged children in Prince Edward Island, regardless of their ability to pay, the availability of resources in the community, or the location of the school. We will ensure that hunger is not a barrier to learning for any child. We will serve a variety of foods in recognition of the diversity of the student population and we will create an environment of respect for every person’s inherent value and celebrate their potential to contribute to their school and community.
3. Young people will be given opportunities to drive the school food programs.
We will make schools a hub for food activity and emphasize developing the capacity of young people to advocate for their own needs. We will provide students with regular opportunities to collaborate with students from other Island schools.
4. We will provide opportunities for curriculum integration.
We will provide opportunities for hands on learning, service learning, citizenship and community projects, social entrepreneurship and articulation agreements with post-secondary institutions. Integration with the curriculum will allow students to prepare and grow food, make
healthy choices outside school, think critically about the food system and media, and develop self-awareness and confidence.
5. We will work with local farmers, fishers and processors to emphasize the value of fresh, local, sustainable, seasonal food.
We will engage grassroots stakeholders and respect the assets and resources already available in schools and communities. We will place a high emphasis on local, seasonal food and we will aim for sustainability by building support and capacity at the community level.
6. We will secure additional funding and resources to ensure that programs are properly staffed and funded to be sustainable and create significant impact.
Volunteers are valued in schools, but sustainable funding and dedicated staff are vital. The provincial school food strategy will not be an added responsibility for school staff and volunteers. We will implement pilot projects that will aid in developing processes that clarify expectations for schools and school staff.
7. We will set achievable goals with clear targets and timelines to measure success.
Achievable goals will be set and progress toward these goals will be monitored. Evaluation measures will include indicators relating to, but not limited to, the availability of healthy food in schools, the wellbeing of students, food literacy, attendance and academic achievement, the cost of the program, amount of local food accessed by the school food program, the economic multiplier effect of local food procurement, and the time and resources required by school staff and volunteers. Successes will be celebrated!
Saturday, April 8, 2017
|Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
Department of Health and Wellness
Premier of PEI
Public Schools Branch
Minister Health and Wellness:
Thank you for sharing HSF School Food Guiding Principles and Resolution 5-2017 regarding a provincial school food strategy. Healthy eating and access to, and affordability of, healthy food are very important considerations if we hope to change our current health trends. We know that poor diet is linked to chronic diease, a growing burden for our Island population, country and worldwide. Islanders consume less fruits and vegetables than the average Canadian and Islanders are more likely to be either overweight or obese.
I applaud the HSF for suggesting through these guiding principles that more effort needs to focus on the social determinants of health, the societal conditions that influence people's health, like the school environment (physical and social environments) and income and social status (equity), and that a more collaborative solution is needed to address school food issue.
The concept of a provincial school food strategy may help to assist schools and parents in dealing with food related issues and programs but a much larger collaborative effort would be necessary to engage all stake holders in this issue if sustainable change is desired. While children do spend a significant amount of time in the school setting, a larger population level change will be required to address this complex issue.
The Department of Health and Wellness remains committed to supporting schools and other settings in developing evidence-based food policies. Through current Healthy Eating Program Officers and other staff in the department and Health PEI, we continue to offer our resources and support to assist schools and local home and school associations establish effective food policies and practices. We look forward to being an involved partner in any initiative the Public Schools Branch may wish to lead in this area.
Education, Early Learning, and Culture:
The concept of a "Provincial School Food Strategy" would need to be positioned as part of a larger provincial food strategy or initiative. Although it is recognized that schools are a key setting to influence the healthy eating habits of both students and staff (through formal education, school nutrition policies, and health promoting environments) this work would need to be imbedded within a larger provincial strategy. All stakeholders within the education system, as well as other departments, business sectors and community partners, would need to be engaged in any future discussions. The School Food Guiding Principles, recently adopted by the PEIHSF, would be an important consideration to include in this work.
As you know, the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is currently leading the development of a new Community Food Security and Food Education Program. This new program is the result of community and grass-root organizations who have identified that local food systems should be a priority. This program will include support for three local food pilot projects in schools which will aim to increase the amount of local food available on lunch menus. Other small grants will be administered to support projects which increase local food education in schools; knowledge of where food comes from; community food security partnerships; and sustainable models. Applications for funding will be reviewed and adjudicated by a committee of government and community representatives who will make recommendations to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The results of these projects, in which the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture, Public School Branch, Department of Health and Wellness and PEIHSF representatives are key partners, will help us collectively understand local food systems and how to increase school's access.
The Department of Health and Wellness remains a key partner in supporting the healthy eating environment in schools. Two new Healthy Eating Officers have been visiting schools to explore school specific needs regarding breakfast/snack program implementation, school nutrition policy adherence, and other areas of interest. Their future work will include a possible revision of the School Nutrition Policy, which was first adopted in 2005 by elementary/consolidated schools, then expanded to include intermediate and senior high schools in 2011. The revision process would engage all school stakeholders (i.e., students, teachers, parents, government and community) in the discussion. During the revision process, key elements, such as appropriate time for lunch and eating lunch after outside play, would be important components to consider carrying forward.