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Battleford, SK, Canada

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SHORT-TERM MISSION: TO CREATE ONE PILOT PROJECT BASED ON THE FINNISH MODEL OF SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMMING

What can be learned from the school food program in Finland?

Finland has been providing school lunch programming since 1943.  The Finns have developed an efficient system of local procurement, local cooking in commercial kitchens, delivery of hot foods to schools, infrastructure in schools to allow for comfortable eating, and distribution of leftovers for sale and donation.  The 'blueprint' which has evolved in Finland is considered to be the world's best school food provision model.  Many aspects of this blueprint could be readily imitated here in Canada.

Pilot Project for Universal Lunches in Schools wants to launch an unprecedented pilot project in Saskatchewan to provide universal school lunch programming. It may be unprecedented in all of Canada.


School-based food provision is not currently mandated by any provinces in Canada.  All current school food programs are funded by outside agencies, volunteer groups, school community councils, grants, etc. Funding is never secure for the long-term, and there is a lack of appropriate infrastructure for food storage, preparation, and serving in most school settings.

Therefore, we see "breakfast programs" and "snack programs" which often serve processed and packaged food items.  These calories often eaten away from table do not replace the holistic practice of mealtime.

The pilot project will be an on-going data collection site to measure the positive impacts and the monetary costs.

Practicing healthy eating and active living among our school age population now is an investment in the future. Current rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are not sustainable.

Fortunately, 90% of chronic disease is diet-related and schools have a history of successful public health intervention.

 

LONG-TERM MISSION: TO REPLICATE THE SCHOOL FOOD LUNCH PROVISION MODEL FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF ALL STUDENTS IN SASKATCHEWAN AND CANADA.

What can be learned from the school food program in Finland?

Finland's school food practices started during World War II when food was scarce.  Since then, the policies and practices have evolved to include school food as part of the Health curriculum and the service package for Student Wellness, akin to counseling, public health nurse, social worker, vision and hearing screening, etc.

Lunch provision started in the northern Finnish schools where needs were highest.  As new schools were built, and existing school buildings were renovated and upgraded,  eventually  all schools were equipped to provide the hot lunches.

Universal school lunch provision is written into law to protect the funding and secure the longevity of this programming for the common good.

School food has become common ground for the entire nation since most families now have a third generation of children eating school lunches.  The many immigrants new to Finland learn about Finnish agriculture, traditional cuisine, and Finnish food culture.