Finally, a National School Food Program!

Colourful dishes being washed

April 4, 2024 - Finally, a National School Food Program!

CONGRATULATING THE COALITION FOR HEALTHY SCHOOL FOOD

Apr 4, 2024

After decades of advocacy by food security organizations and individual advocates, Canada will finally offer a National School Food Program.

In an announcement last week, the federal government has committed to allocating $1 billion over five years to launch the program, which is targeted to provide meals to an additional 400,000 kids not already served by a school food program in Canada.

FoodShare extends our most heartfelt congratulations to everyone who has worked tirelessly to reach this milestone, including many of our friends and colleagues across the food sector.

As the only G7 country that does not have a national school food program, this program is a vital step towards improving the Canadian food landscape, helping to address growing needs as individuals, government, and charities face increased pressure due to low resources and higher-than-ever food prices.

Many of the folks who worked to make this happen have spent time working and leading at FoodShare and we are so proud to see their dedication come to fruition. Ensuring young people have the sustenance they need to learn and thrive is an enormous achievement.

And yet, we live in a country where nearly five million people are food insecure. This is despite the fact that in 1976, the Canadian government ratified the portion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that includes our right to food. That commitment doesn’t mean that the government is responsible for giving out free food. It means our public institutions have a duty to ensure, through sound policy, that people have what they need to be able to feed themselves.

It should mean that food insecurity doesn’t exist in this country, but it very much does. Tackling this requires acknowledging that colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy are just some of the harmful organizing principles built into our current food system. Principles that have long decided who has food to eat and who doesn’t. The numbers don’t lie. In Canada, Indigenous households are twice as likely and Black households are three and a half times more likely than white households to be food insecure.

We agree with the Prime Minister that no child should go to school hungry. We also believe that no college student should either. No worker should go to work hungry. No elder should go to bed hungry. No one, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world should have to experience the indignity of food insecurity.

To everyone who has been at the table pushing to advance the status of school food — thank you and congratulations.

This achievement is proof of the power of collaboration and of tenacity.

First our children, next the rest of us.

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