The Comox Valley Faculties Board helps the nationwide wholesome consuming initiative – Comox Valley File
School District 71 is digging deeper into food security and how schools can play a role.
The district already has programs with community food advocates such as the LUSH Valley Food Action Society to both learn about food security and run student meal programs.
RELATED STORY: The LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School’s Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020
At the last ordinary meeting on April 27, the Board dealt with the National Coalition for Healthy School Food. With this initiative, the federal government is to invest in a cost-sharing Universal Healthy School Food program to give all students daily access to healthy meals in school.
“This appears to be the next step in supporting this program,” said trustee Michelle Waite.
She said she was also considering some of the other organizations that supported the initiative, such as the British Columbia School Trustees Association and the Victoria School Board.
However, there were some concerns about potential costs to the school district. Trustee Janice Caton said she thought the idea was a good one but would not endorse a resolution until the district learned more about its responsibilities and wanted to refer the matter to senior executives.
“It has to go through for me first,” she said.
One of the ideas being considered between the district and local food security advocates is a position as a local coordinator. Board chairwoman Sheila McDonnell said action at the meeting is only to support the national coalition and not yet commit to a position, although Caton said she was concerned that there was a “gray area” being considered could be. For all other points, McDonnell replied that they could be forwarded to employees, while Waite repeated that there was no need to tie up any money.
In the end, the board voted in favor of a limited motion to support the Healthy School Food Coalition, with Caton voting against. Caton then requested that all other food initiative review questions be referred to senior executives.
Proposal for a school farm
The school board considered another idea related to food in schools. The youngest trustee, Cristi May Sacht, has identified a potential grant option for districts to start their first school farm.
“The benefits of a school farm are that students get food literacy training from a professional farmer through hands-on learning opportunities,” she said. “The food can then be used to prepare school meals. … It can also be shared or sold to parents and / or community members.”
At this point, May Sacht was only making one motion, so it was suggested, at the direction of other board members, that the issue be discussed in detail at the next board meeting as the trustees have not yet seen the actual motion.
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