This post is in collaboration with Fresh from the Farm We're often approached to support a variety of projects and programs, we have to turn down many of them because there are only so many hours in the day. However, when we were approached by Foodland Ontario about a pilot program called Fresh from the Farm, it was something that was the perfect fit and aligned with so much that we try to do at FBC. Fresh from the Farm is a program designed to allow schools to fundraise in a way that is mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Bundles of fresh produce grown by Ontario farmers are sold by students and then on a designated day a huge delivery of produce is delivered to the school and is picked up by everyone who ordered. The program is still in its infancy as it enters year 3 but they've gone from 70 schools in 2013 and already over 140 and still counting in 2015. The beauty of the program is in its simplicity. Schools can enrol to be a part of the program which is spearheaded by a School Champion who coordinates it all. The students sell fresh fruit and vegetables grown by Ontario farmers which is then bundled up and delivered to schools for a one-day pickup in November. And what about these bundles? Well, that's the beauty of it. It's food that is A) food that good for you and B) food that you should/would be buying to begin with! Bundle A, $10.00
- 5 lb. Potatoes
- 3 lb. Carrots
- 3 lb. Onions
- 3 lb. Sweet Potatoes
Bundle B, $15.00
- 8 lb. box of Empire Apples
The breakdown of the dollars is also very straightforward and transparent.
- 40% of sales go directly to the school (less $60 delivery fee)
- 50% of sales to Ontario’s farmers in support of the local economy
- 10% to Fresh from the Farm for program sustainability and expansion
In this case, the proof is in the produce. To date, over two years 152 schools have distributed 130,000 kg of Empire apples and root vegetables grown in Ontario. Those 130,000 kgs have allowed schools to raise $121,000 for their school initiatives and $150,000 returned back to Ontario farmers! So what can you do? Well, that's easy. You can see if your school is eligible location-wise. If so, you can enrol your school by filling out this form and select a School Champion to coordinate it along with the school. From there, the timeline is pretty straightforward. Enrolment and fundraising is happening until Oct. 9. The week of Oct. 26, each school will be noticed of the delivery date of all the bundles and anywhere from November 9-26, the produce will be dropped off at the school for everyone to pick up their orders. Follow along... If you can't fundraise this year due to timing or your region isn't part of the program (yet), don't despair because you can still watch and be part of the experience! With the help of Fresh from the Farm, we have recruited the assistance of bloggers to help share their journey. Jennifer from One Heart One Family and Julie from Sober Julie will each document the process of signing up a school, fundraising and showing what the bounty of produce looks like on pick-up day! We invite you to check out their blogs and also follow along with the #FreshFromFarm15 hashtag and their Twitter handle @FreshFromFreshON. And finally, for those who love the idea of the program, Fresh from the Farm is not unique to Canada. There are similar programs elsewhere in Canada and hopefully they continue to spread!
- Yukon – From the Ground Up, Yukon Healthy Choice Fundraiser (http://www.yukonfromthegroundup.ca/)
- British Columbia – Fresh to You Fundraiser (http://www.sfvnp.ca/fresh-to-you.html)
- Manitoba – Farm to School, Manitoba Healthy Choice Fundraiser (http://www.farmtoschoolmanitoba.ca/)
And for all other information, check out Fresh from the Farm!