My first born has officially started Junior Kindergarten and his anticipation as each new school day approaches is palpable. He is thrilled about starting something new and he has always been great with change, however, he is a little bit nervous about a new routine and new adventure (or maybe that’s me who’s nervous!) I am usually great with change but I am finding Junior Kindergarten a little overwhelming. There’s a lot more to oversee; more meals to prepare, homework to help with, activities to manage and from what I’ve heard, time speeds up times ten from this point forward.
I have always seen myself as a parent who would be very involved in my child’s school. One of the activities I would love to participate in is fundraising. A school can never have enough resources however funds are always limited. I am used to seeing the standard fundraising spiel from experience with my nieces and nephews some of which include bake sales, and the sale of wrapping paper, trinkets, candles, chocolate bars…a lot of the stuff that I could do without. I cringe at the thought of approaching a family member to buy an unexciting item to help fund raise. I know deep down they are doing it for my child’s well being but the thought of them having to spend their hard earned money just to receive something useless, upsets me. Actually, I take back the part about bake sales – baked goods are never useless!
I recently found out about a new program that is not only a great way to fundraise for schools but also a great way to support local farmers! Being the foodie that I am, and an advocate of farm to table and cooking with children, this incredible program that the province of Ontario has taken the lead in developing really excites me! Fresh from the farm is a healthy way to fund raise at school and since there are very few farmers markets available in the suburbs, it is another way to get access to local, farm fresh produce.
The Fresh from the Farm Program has been around for 3 years and is growing every year but they still need support from us parents. So far, elementary and high school students have raised an outstanding $112,000 for school initiatives and $150,000 has gone back to Ontario farmers! Amazing, right?! But hold on! These numbers have the potential to grow! The hope of the program is by 2017, to reach all 72 Ontario school boards, approx. 5000+ schools. My children’s school is not on the list of schools able to participate yet due to geographical limitations, however, with more and more support, the program will expand to more school boards. They are also hoping to eventually add new bundles, like greenhouse vegetables.
Here is how the program works:
Apr 1 – Oct 9: Schools enroll www.FreshfromFarm.ca
August 31st week: Enrolled schools receive a toolkit (order forms, brochures, poster).
Sept 8 (1st day of school): Fundraising begins.
Supporters have the choice of:
Bundle A: $10.00
3 lb. Onions
3 lb. Sweet Potatoes
Bundle B: $15.00
8 lb. box of Empire Apples
Oct 9 is the deadline to enroll so if you are interested in bringing this program to your schools, remember that you have to do it before this date.
Nov 9-26: the orders are delivered to supporters. At that time, volunteers unload, sort and pack vegetable bundles into Fresh from the Farm bags and parents pick up bundles at the school.
A lot of parents are saavy when it comes to fundraising and rightly so! We all want to know where our money is going. Here is a quick breakdown: 40% of the sales go directly to the school and 50% of sales go back to Ontario’s farmers in support of the local economy. A mere 10% goes to Fresh from the Farm for program sustainability and expansion.
This program is a great way to raise awareness about the important role good nutrition plays in the development and well being of children and is also a great way to introduce topics of agriculture, food and healthy eating into our classrooms. Another huge win is that it provides funds for school so that they can buy much needed supplies and resources that our children will benefit from. If this is a program that you feel equally as passionate about then you should definitely get involved and bring it to your school’s principal or council.
If you want to read more about the program, here’s the link to the FAQ:
Recipes are always fun too so here are some that you can browse through: www.freshfromfarm.ca/recipes.aspx as well as our catalogue of farm to table recipes located here.
I am going to get used to this whole new JK thing for now and in the meantime hope that next year this program is made available to our school board here in York Region.
I hope you all have a wonderful school year!
*On rare occasions I do sponsored posts when I feel the quality and message of the program is above average and lines up with the message that I try to share through my blog. This post has been generously sponsored by Fresh From the Farm and I have been compensated monetarily, however, all views are my own.