Health & Children

This stream had a heavy emphasis on school food programs to support children’s health this year, reflecting the growing work of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.  Surprisingly few health-oriented sessions were submitted as part of our open call for proposals, reflecting an opportunity for growth in the FSC community and future assemblies. 

The big highlights:
• The Liberal and NDP MPs who spoke on Saturday’s plenary committed to supporting a national, universal school food program fuelling the momentum of the newly formed Coalition for Healthy School Food, that met for 2 days prior to the assembly. 
• The Coalition for Healthy School Food developed a strategy for making a universal, federally funded healthy school food program an election issue and engaged Assembly participants in this conversation throughout the assembly.
• There are many great models of school food programs that have emerged across Canada, including Nova Scotia’s Nourish program and Newfoundland’s Kids Eat Smart program, both of which are very close to having a universal reach in their province.
• Provincial governments, including Nova Scotia through ‘Thrive’, are taking leadership on strategies to address food insecurity and healthy eating.
• Our health is affected by agricultural policy, including pesticide and GMO regulation, and urgent action is needed as a moratorium is being lifted on some pesticides next year.
• The Canada Food Guide is out dated and fails to recognize the impact of eating on building sustainable food systems.
 


NOTES OF THE SESSIONS

Notes were taken by volunteers and are not for citation.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Growing Healthy Kids – School Food Programs that Work
Government Leadership on Food Security and Healthy Eating
Clarifying the Puzzle: Raising the Bar on Research of School Food Programs
Food service management innovators
Pesticide Problems and Politics - Healthy Environments as a Precursor to Food Security
Making Vegetables and Fruit Available in BC Remote Communities (missing)
Transforming Canada’s Food Guide? : Critical dietetics in dialogue with sustainable food systems (missing)


 

Growing Healthy Kids – School Food Programs that Work

Panel Presentation(s) - Presenters: Celina Stoyles, ED Kids Eat Smart NL; Margo Riebe-Butt, Nourish Nova Scotia; Cheyenne Mary, Canadian Feed the Children; Ulla Knowles, FoodShare Toronto.

Once seen as programs to alleviate childhood hunger, school food programs are increasingly being looked to as a way to promote healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime while also ensuring that kids are not hungry at school.  This panel presented on a variety of school food programs from across the country that have innovated on the old model of school food programs to promote healthy eating habits, support local food producers, teach food skills and much more.  How these programs work in collaboration with governments, the private sector and parents was highlighted.  What is required to build these programs into a universal pan-Canadian program was discussed.

   Notes of the Session    

 


Government Leadership on Food Security and Healthy Eating 

Chair: Patty Williams, Director, FoodARC and Professor and CRC in Food Security and Policy Change, Mount Saint Vincent University

Keynote: Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Public Health Officer, Nova Scotia
Discussants: Wayne Roberts, Canadian food policy analyst and writer, formally manager of Toronto Food Policy Council (2000-2010); Shylah Elliott, Health Policy Analyst, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.; and  Margaret Yandel, RD, Manager Public Health Nutrition l Healthy Living Branch, Population and Public Health, Ministry of Health, BC.

Over the last decade a variety of programs, policies and strategies have been laying a foundation for partners in Nova Scotia to work together to create the conditions for healthy, just and sustainable food systems. This session began with a keynote by Dr. Robert Strang, who shared his insights on how the Public Health sphere can provide leadership for cross-sectoral conversations and collaboration within and outside of government on food security and healthy eating. Discussants from three other jurisdictions offered their reflections on the Nova Scotia experience and its relevance to other jurisdictions and contexts. The session offered an opportunity for the speakers and participants to advance ideas and understanding about how public health and public health partners can amplify their work together to create the conditions for healthy communities where there is sustainable food for all.

Notes of the session


Clarifying the Puzzle: Raising the Bar on Research of School Food Programs

Presenters: Mary McKenna, University of New Brunswick, Judith Barry, Breakfast Club of Canada, Catherine Parsonage, Toronto District School Board, Dr. Victoria Crosbie, Developmental Pediatrician

There is surprisingly little research that has been conducted on school food programs in Canada. This panel highlighted some research and evaluation results from recent years followed by a discussion about priorities for future research. Recent research results from Raising the Bar on School Food Programs and plans for a national map were presented.

Notes of the session


Food service management innovators

Panel - Presenters: Joshna Maharaj, Director of Food Services & Executive Chef, Ryerson University; Rachel Schofield Martin, District scolaire francophone Sud; Rachel Allain, Réseau des cafétérias communautaires; Mathieu D’Astous, Récolte de Chez Nous

What are the results when food service management prioritizes procurement of local and sustainable foods? Hear about two efforts to rebuild food service focused on local – one with a corporate partner and the other operating as a social enterprise. After working to increase local food at several hospitals in Toronto, Joshna Maharaj started in 2013 to transform the food on campus at Ryerson University. «Le réseau des cafétérias communautaires» is a non-profit organization that provides students healthy meals in 25 school cafeterias in southeastern New Brunswick and most of their local food procurement is done through a farmers’ cooperative.

Notes of the session


Pesticide Problems and Politics - Healthy Environments as a Precursor to Food Security

Participatory Workshop - Presenters:  Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation; Nadine Bachand, Équiterre

Equiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation spoke about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides, and addressed advocacy initiatives that are underway to bring about stronger public regulation of pesticides. Environmental health is explained as a precursor for food security.

Notes of the session


Making Vegetables and Fruit Available in BC Remote Communities

Panel Presentation(s) - Presenter:  Margaret Yandel, BC Ministry of Health.

In Canada’s remote communities, geographical and community barriers limit the availability of fresh, quality produce. This presentation will share the learnings and outcomes of an innovative three year project that attempted to get more produce of higher quality into 24 remote British Columbia communities. Common to all communities was the desire to be self-sufficient and to sustainably meet their needs for fresh produce. Innovative communication tools were used to tell the story of how these communities worked to make produce more available and what we discovered about facilitating their change.

The notes of this session are missing.


Transforming Canada’s Food Guide? : Critical dietetics in dialogue with sustainable food systems.

Panel Presentation(s) - Presenters:  Aja Peterson, York University; Stephanie Lim, University of British Columbia; Hugh Joseph, Tufts University

What does it mean to eat healthy? As community developers and food justice advocates, Aja Peterson and Stephanie Lim illuminated the ways in which intersecting forms of exclusion are embedded in Canadian nutrition education and research, focusing in particular on the assumed scientific neutrality of the Canada Food Guide (CFG). Hugh Joseph addressed strategies to expand the scope of CFG to incorporate sustainability as part of a broader public approach, so that the public can make food choices that incorporate social justice and environmental objectives as part of nutritionally healthy diets.

The notes of this session are missing.