Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Farmers help bring fruits, vegetables north


February 1, 2011
By Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association

Topics

vegetablesJanuary 27, 2011,
Guelph, Ont – Ontario’s horticulture farmers have banded together with the
provincial government again this year to bring healthy fruit and vegetable
snacks to school children in Northern Ontario.

January 27, 2011,
Guelph, Ont – Ontario’s horticulture farmers have banded together with the
provincial government again this year to bring healthy fruit and vegetable
snacks to school children in Northern Ontario.

The Northern School
Snack Program
has launched its 19 week program at 110 elementary schools.

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vegetables 
  

“The connection between
food and health is undeniable,” says Brian Gilroy, an apple grower and chair of
the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA). “Fruits and
vegetables are a key component of a healthy lifestyle and this school snack
program is a great way of promoting awareness and increasing consumption by
school children.”

Consistent availability
of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables can be a challenge for Ontario’s
northern communities. This led to a launch of the program in 2006 as a pilot
project following the release of several key reports that underlined the need
for action against obesity.

The program is a
partnership between the OFVGA, the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and the
Health Units of Algoma and Porcupine districts. The OFVGA centrally sources
fruit and vegetable snacks and co-ordinates delivery and distribution, which
allow approximately 19,000 students to receive two servings per week for the
duration of the program. 

Produce served through
the program includes strawberries, apples, mini-cucumbers, cherry tomatoes,
pears, apple slices, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, applesauce-blend
cups, carrot sticks, sliced peppers, pineapple chunks, sweet snap peas,
clementines, melon chunks and asparagus. Approximately 75 per cent of fruits
and vegetables used in the school program are Ontario-grown, with the number
being higher when supply allows.

 “Our goal is to
teach kids an appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables and help them learn
how to make life-long healthy eating choices,” says Gilroy. “As farmers, we’re
appreciative of our government and health unit partners to help us provide this
program to elementary schools in Northern Ontario.”