Current State of Local Food Awareness and Utilization in Meal and Snack Programs Targeted to Young Children in Ontario

The Greenbelt Fund and the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC) at the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) collaborated on a research project, in partnership with the Food Innovation & Research Studio (FIRSt) at George Brown College (GBC) and the Helderleigh Foundation, and released its final report: Current State of Local Food Awareness and Utilization in Meal and Snack Programs Targeted to Young Children in Ontario.

The report identifies the current situation of local food use and food literacy in meal and snack programs targeting young children, while outlining the challenges, barriers and opportunities to support more local food use and food literacy in child care and student nutrition programs.

The research project investigated the knowledge, attitudes and awareness of local food use and food literacy among food suppliers and caterers and key influencers of young children in Ontario. It also involved an environmental scan of food literacy tools and resources being used to educate food providers and educators in early childhood settings, as well as the resources used and supports needed to educate children and their parents/caregivers about local foods and healthy eating.

These results can be used for future planning to promote the use of local food and food literacy activities in early childhood settings.

The Nutrition Resource Centre is planning a webinar in the near future to discuss and share these results. Stay tuned!