Durham District School Board Celebrates a Commitment to Local Food

September 23, 2014

Durham District School Board Celebrates a Commitment to Local Food at the Cafeteria Connects Farmers’ Market!

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) has partnered with Ecosource and Chartwells School Dining, a member of Compass Group Canada, in the Cafeteria Connects project to make secondary school students aware of the variety of local food options available through education and increased Ontario foods offered in secondary school cafeterias.

Since its inception in October 2013, the Cafeteria Connects Strategy Committee has been piloting seasonal product recipes, curriculum based workshops and strategies to increase local food procurement in select sites of the DDSB. The project is now ready to launch these initiatives board-wide into all Compass Group Canada managed DDSB cafeteria sites. The Farmers’ Market being hosted on September 25th at the DDSB Education Centre is the kick off and celebration to the expansion of the project. It will feature local farmers, vendors, live music and workshops for DDSB hospitality students.

"The Farmers’ Market is an opportunity to celebrate the actions of the school board, and the commitments made to local food purchasing and education through the Cafeteria Connects project," says Carolyn Bailey, Acting Executive Director, Ecosource. "It also provides another excellent opportunity to increase the interaction of DDSB staff and students with local food growers and producers. When they see local food identified in their school cafeterias, there is a better understanding of the local food system who those food purchases effect."

"This project has helped us to better understand what food we are ordering in the schools, and where that food is coming from,” said Ed Hodgins, Superintendent of Education/Business, DDSB. “From our baseline data, we have been able to determine what local produce items can be consistently sourced from Ontario throughout the school year. We are calling this the Big 6 Purchasing Strategy which means that all apples, cucumbers, mushrooms, cooking onions, red peppers and carrots, used in DDSB cafeterias will all be coming from Ontario farms."

The Big 6 Purchasing Strategy was developed as a component of the Cafeteria Connects project. This strategy around fresh local produce is unique to the Durham project, and sets an example of a way to move forward for public institutions who are interested in local food procurement.

The official opening of the Farmers’ Market takes place at 11:00am by Joe Allin, Durham District School Board Chair, who will speak to the project and welcome the farmers and students to the site. Community members are invited to attend the market which will be open until 6:00pm. Live music will be enjoyed from 11:15am - 1:00pm and 3:00pm - 4:30pm.

The Cafeteria Connects project is generously supported by the Greenbelt Fund. For more information about the project please visit www.ecosource.ca.

WHEN: Thursday, September 25th 2014, 11:00 Market Opening Celebration

WHERE: Durham District School Board Education Centre, 400 Taunton Road, East, Whitby Ontario

WHAT: A photo and story opportunity with farmers, students, community members, DDSB board staff celebrating the Cafeteria Connects board-wide initiatives and Durham farmers.


About Ecosource
Ecosource is the nonprofit environmental organization bringing the key food system stakeholders to the table to create the connections between local and healthy food. Ecosource provides innovative education programs in Peel and throughout the province to more than 40,000 youth and their families each year. For more information, visit ecosource.ca or join us on Twitter @EcosourceGreen.

About Chartwells School Dining
Chartwells School Dining is a member of Compass Group Canada, the country’s leading foodservices and support services company with more than 26,000 associates across Canada. From K-12 to university campuses, Chartwells is a diverse group of dedicated food and nutrition specialists serving the academic community. The foods we serve helps fuel the ideas and dreams of future generations. But we do more than feed hungry students. We practice a single-minded commitment to building strong bodies, sharp minds, and establishing the foundation for a long, healthier life. We call this Eat. Learn. Live.

About Durham District School Board
Durham District School Board is responsible for public education in the rural settings of Uxbridge, Brock, and Scugog Townships and the urban settings of Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, and Oshawa. The Board employs 7,000 teaching and educational services staff. With 130 elementary and secondary schools and learning centres, the Board accommodates more than 66,000 regular day students and thousands more who take advantage of a wide variety of continuing education and adult credit courses. More information can be found on the Board’s website atddsb.ca. Please follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB.

The Cafeteria Connects: Bringing Ontario Foods to Secondary School Cafeterias project is made possible with funding from the Greenbelt Fund a non-profit organization that supports and enhances the viability, integrity, and sustainability of agriculture in the Greenbelt and Ontario. For more information about the program and grants visit Ontariofresh.ca.


Media Contacts:

Soni Craik, School Food Program Manager, Ecosource, 905‐274‐6222 / 647.299.5601 (cell), scraik[a]ecosource.ca

Andrea Pidwerbecki, Communications Manager, Durham District School Board, 905-666-6313, Pidwerbecki_Andrea[a]durham.edu.on.ca