Ecology Action Centre joins the push for a universal, healthy school meal program | Ecology Action Centre

Ecology Action Centre joins the push for a universal, healthy school meal program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 12, 2018

K’jipuktuk [Halifax] – The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) is adding its voice to the call for healthy food in schools. Today, EAC announced that they have joined the Coalition for Healthy School Food. In this role, the EAC will work alongside nearly 40 organizations from across Canada, including Nourish Nova Scotia, to advocate for a universal healthy school meal program.

The Coalition for Healthy School Food aims to build healthier foundations for children and youth. Sasha McNicoll, the coordinator at the Coalition, says many youth in Canada don’t currently meet some of the basic benchmarks for healthy eating, such as recommended daily amounts of vegetables and fruits.

“This really puts their health at risk, both now and into the future,” says McNicoll,“With many children also not eating a nutritious breakfast before school, their ability to focus and learn through the school day is compromised.”

Children and youth spend a significant portion of their days in school settings, yet Canada is one of the only industrialized countries without a national school food program.

The Coalition for Healthy School Food wants the federal government to invest in a cost-shared Universal Healthy School Food Program that will enable all students in Canada to have access to healthy meals at school every day.

Satya Ramen, Senior Food Coordinator with the EAC says there are many reasons why children and youth may not be eating healthily throughout the day.

“A universal healthy school meal program would take advantage of the school setting to help provide a foundation for health and learning for all students,” says Ramen.

The EAC believes that a universal healthy school meal program would benefit Canadians in many valuable ways, from reducing the rate of lifestyle and diet related chronic disease in children and youth, to improving learning outcomes.

“We know that eating healthily is important for healthy bodies and healthy minds, but only about one-third of Canadian children ages 4 to 13 eat the minimum daily recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits daily. We need to lay the foundation for healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime and ensure that learning is not hindered by a lack of access to good food.”

As a new member of the Coalition, the EAC is calling on Nova Scotians to support the call for a universal healthy school food program as part of the federal government’s commitment to the health of Canadians.

“Joining the Coalition is a natural extension of the work we do with partners and communities to improve access to healthy food for all,” says Ramen. “We work to make it easier to grow, catch, sell, prepare, share and access good, healthy food in communities in Nova Scotia and Southeast New Brunswick.”

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About the Ecology Action Centre (ecologyaction.ca/ourfood)

Ecology Action Centre is a member based environmental charity in Halifax taking leadership on critical issues from biodiversity to climate change to environmental justice. The Food Action team strives to increase access to healthy, sustainable and just food through community food initiatives, cross-sectoral partnerships and action for change.

About the Coalition for Healthy School Food (healthyschoolfood.ca)

The Coalition for Healthy School Food is a group of nearly 40 organizations from across Canada advocating for a national school food program. We seek an investment by the federal government in a cost-shared Universal Healthy School Food Program that will enable all students in Canada to have access to healthy meals at school every day. Building on existing programs across the country, all schools will eventually serve a healthy meal or snack at little or no cost to students.

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For further information, please contact:

Satya Ramen
Senior Coordinator, Food Action Team, Ecology Action Centre
902-446-4405
satya@ecologyaction.ca

Sasha McNicoll
Coordinator, Coalition for Healthy School Food
647-770-8388
schoolfood@foodsecurecanada.org

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