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Webinar: Close to Universal - Healthy School Food Programs in NS and NFL

Hosted by: Food Secure Canada


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A Webinar Series on School Food Programs in Canada

School Food Programs are increasingly seen as key factors to promote the physical and mental health of students. Research demonstrates the potential of food programs to improve food choices and contribute to the academic success of all students. Currently in Canada there are different School Food Programs models that have various approaches to how they operate and how they are funded.

This webinar series aims to promote promising models of School Food Programs with the goal of improving the scope and quality of programs across Canada.

The first webinar will showcase the School Food Programs in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador that are the closest in Canada to having universal reach :

- How have these two provinces managed to implement their almost universal School Food Programs?
- What are the characteristics of their models and what is the story of their development?

In Nova Scotia the Department of Health and Wellness contributes $750,000 annually in support of breakfast programs.  Nourish Nova Scotia, a registered charity dedicated to supporting food and nutrition programs for NS children and youth,  is the provincial partner. Nourish administers funding, provides resources and supports to breakfast programs province-wide. Breakfast programs in Nova Scotia are community developed and diverse respecting the capacity of each school community to support.  Although diverse in program operation and delivery, they follow a set of best practice standards https://nourishns.ca/program-resources/breakfast-programs . Programs are universally welcoming and free to all students who come to school hungry, regardless of the reason.  90% of NS public schools operate a breakfast program. Last year, Nourish Nova Scotia supported 366 schools who served in excess of 4.4 million breakfast meals to students grades primary to twelve.

Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador is a registered charity that supports the education, health, and well-being of school age children in Newfoundland and Labrador through nutrition programs run by volunteers at schools and community centres.  We support Kids Eat Smart Clubs in schools and community centres province wide. While we do fund some snack and lunch programs, the majority of our programs are breakfast. KES Clubs are universally run programs so that every child is welcome and there is no charge to children or their families. Currently there are 240 Kids Eat Smart Clubs operating with the assistance of almost 6,000 volunteers. Every school day we serve over 22,000 meals, and almost 3.4 million meals a year!  Presently, we have Kids Eat Smart Clubs in almost 90% of all the schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our goal is to provide children with the nutrition they need to learn, to grow, and to be their very best!

Dr. Mary McKenna, professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton will lead the discussion.

We invite you to join us in this conversation, to learn about and be inspired by successful school food program models.


Margo Riebe-Butt is the executive director and secretary to the board at Nourish Nova Scotia. She has practiced dietetics and nutrition for 15 years,focusing on the development, growth and leadership of school-based nutrition programs in Nova Scotia school communities since 2005. As a former consultant at the Department of Health and Wellness, Margo facilitated and led the transition of the provincial school breakfast program into a non-profit registered charitable organization, Nourish Nova Scotia. As the organization’s Executive Director, she collaborates with dedicated stakeholders and partners to co-create meaningful change to support sustainability for both program delivery & diversity. More information available at the Nourish Nova Scotia website.

Celina Stoyles is the Executive Director of Kids Eat Smart Foundation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her experience and understanding of health and wellness in children and youth, along with her volunteer knowledge and experience with Boards, assists Celina in the management and day to day operations as she leads the team at KES. Celina spent almost 25 years in the hospitality industry and prior to joining KES in June of 2013 she was the VP & Chief Development Officer with the Health Care Foundation of St. John’s. When not at work, Celina can be found at the rink with her son Aden. She also enjoys skiing, skating and entertaining with her family.

Mary McKenna, PhD, RD, is a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton and a Registered Dietitian. She joined the Faculty in 2006 and teaches nutrition, wellness, and health promotion. Dr. McKenna's research focuses primarily on school nutrition policy. She has experience in policy development, implementation, and evaluation and has consulted for the World Health Organization on the topic. Dr. McKenna has given over 100 presentations at the international, national, and local level. From 2003-2006, Dr. McKenna worked as a Health Scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. From 1986-2003, she taught in the Faculty of Education at UNB. Dr. McKenna is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (Canada), on the board of the NB Heart and Stroke foundation, and a member of the NB Minister's Roundtable on Agriculture.


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Webinar date: 
Thursday, April 2, 2015 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Network group: 
- Private group -