You may have seen the Farm to School vegetable fundraiser in various rural and urban centres across the Prairies this past fall. This is not your typical fundraiser. The unique initiative is a partnership between Peak of the Market, the Manitoba Association of Home Economists and the Manitoba Government. People can purchase a small or large bag of mixed vegetables, or purchase a bag to donate to their local food bank. The bag includes potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, parsnips and of course a How To Eat More Meals Together recipe booklet. The highly successful fundraiser leaves 50 per cent of total gross sales with the fundraising school or daycare.
“I was coordinator for the fundraising campaign at my child’s school and what I heard consistently from parents were two things – they did not know what to do with all the vegetables, and they didn’t know what some of the vegetables were. Parsnips are not as familiar as you might think,” says Jennifer Dyck, Canola Eat Well manager.
“I was not surprised that consumers were not sure what to do with the raw whole vegetables,” says Dyck, a professional home economist (PHEc). “A plan came together about how Canola Eat Well could partner with Farm to School to develop a resource to inspire consumers to cook and bake with vegetables using canola oil. The booklet encourages Canadians to eat more vegetables and use a quality product like canola oil in their kitchens.”
Each year a brand-new booklet is created. For the past five years of the initiative, over 350,000 copies have been distributed through the Farm to School program as well as the Calgary Stampede, doctor’s offices in Toronto and many other avenues. It is leveraged to a broader targeted audience by working with high profile food communicators and registered dietitians Erin MacGregor, PHEc, and Dara Gurau, who developed the booklet’s recipes. See MacGregor and Gurau
talk about the booklet in a Facebook video at
facebook.com/howtoeatblog. The booklet, which consistently wins Canadian Agri Marketing Association (CAMA) awards, is a key resource in the marketing and communication toolkit for Canola Eat Well.
The Canola Eat Well joint effort is part of the provincial canola organizations’ mandates to actively facilitate market development initiatives in Canada. Across the Prairies, market development programming is about maintenance and awareness while a targeted market development program in Ontario is about increasing awareness and demand among consumers in that growth market.
The Farm to School initiative provides a healthy choice in fundraising. Imagine a semi-truck full of fresh Canadian grown vegetables delivered directly to your school or licensed daycare located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta or NW Ontario. We understand that profitability is important to fundraisers, and Farm to School offers 50 per cent of total sales back to schools and daycare centres. Learn more about this fundraising opportunity at farmtoschool.ca.