High School Cafeterias Get a Local Food Makeover

February 19, 2014

Fresh, Healthy, Local Food Coming to Durham Schools Thanks to Ecosource Partnership

An innovative project facilitated by Ecosource means fresh, healthy meals made from local food will be on the plates of high school students in the Durham Region.

With support from the Greenbelt Fund, and funding from the Ontario government, Ecosource will develop a series of educational programs and events to increase student and cafeteria staff engagement in buy local programs and drive local food sales in public high schools.

“Ecosource will build on their past success in Peel Region schools with this latest project. With three children of my own, I can relate to the need for educating kids on local food early on. We are eager to see more school boards, including the Durham District School Board, get involved in local food education and increased purchasing of local food. The result—more local food for Ontarians and happier, healthier students,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund.

Ecosource will partner with Compass Group Canada and the Durham District School Board for the Cafeteria Connects: Bringing Ontario Foods to Secondary School Cafeterias ($109,000) project. This partnership will create training for cafeteria staff on how to purchase, track, prepare, and communicate about local food options. Ecosource will also host events celebrating the produce and farmers of Ontario and the Durham Region. These efforts will be supported by educational opportunities for students with Ecosource developing and delivering workshops that integrate local food education into several curricula including business, hospitality, and family studies.

”Ecosource is pleased to build on past successes and partnerships in Peel Region as we work together to change the face of food in Durham District School Board cafeterias and engage students in food literacy in Durham classrooms,” says Stephanie Crocker, Executive Director at Ecosource.

“It’s great to see everyone working together to put more Ontario food on dinner plates in our daycares, schools, and healthcare facilities in Ajax and Pickering. We support and encourage these types of projects because we know how good they are for our farmers, our health, and our local economies,” says Joe Dickson, MPP for Ajax-Pickering.

For a more detailed description of this project and other grants that are a part of the Greenbelt Fund’s Regional Food Grant Program, please visit Ontariofresh.ca.

Since its launch in 2010, the Greenbelt Fund has supported 78 projects with funding totalling $7.4 million, increasing the amount of local food available across the province. The province’s total investments toward broader sector programming means a targeted return of $38.9 million in additional Ontario food in daycares, schools, universities, and colleges–or a five to one return on investment for every dollar spent.


About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund, a non-profit organization, supports and enhances the viability, integrity, and sustainability of agriculture in the Greenbelt and Ontario.

The Fund delivers support to farmers and local food leaders to ensure more of the good things that grow in Ontario are being served and distributed through our public institutions, retail, and foodservice markets. Helping to overcome challenges and support economic growth, the Fund’s goal is to create systemic change to permanently increase the amount of local food consumed in the province through grants, education, policy, and networking initiatives. The Fund is supported by public and private sources. For more information about the program and grants visit Ontariofresh.ca. For more information on local food visit foodlandontario.ca.

For more information about the Ontario government’s new Local Food Act and broader local food strategy, visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food website.

Jennifer Asselin     
Communications Manager   
Greenbelt Fund    
Phone: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306   

Grant Information

Ecosource Cafeteria Connects: Bringing Ontario Foods to Secondary School Cafeterias ($109,000)
Ecosource will partner with Compass Group Canada and Durham District School Board to increase student and cafeteria staff engagement in buy-local programs and drive local food sales in public high schools. This project includes training cafeteria staff on how to purchase, track, and prepare local food. Ecosource will also host local food events and integrate local food education into several curricula including business studies, hospitality, and family studies.

About Ecosource:
Ecosource is the non-profit 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.

About Compass Group Canada:
Compass Group Canada is the country’s leading foodservice and support services company with over 26,000 associates across the country. Operating sectors include: Canteen Vending Services, Chartwells, Compass Leisure & Entertainment, Crothall, ESS Support Services Worldwide, Eurest Dining, Eurest  Services, Foodbuy, Gourmet Cuisine, Levy Restaurants, Marquise Facilities, Marquise Hospitality, Morrison Healthcare and Restaurant  Associates. With more than 500,000 associates worldwide and operations in around 50 countries, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of £17.6 billion in the year to September 30, 2013. For more information visit compass-canada.com.

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 128 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 at ddsb.ca. Please follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB.