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June 2018

Local and Canadian & Sustainable Food: Increasing Children’s Local Food IQ

DID YOU KNOW?

June 4-8, 2018 is Local Food Week!

When you think about local foods, what are some of the first things that come to mind? 

Loaded with nutrients
Ontario produced and Ontario harvested 
Community support for growers and producers
Agricultural awareness
Less pollution (thanks to shorter transportation distances!)

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture defines “local foods” as those produced or harvested in Ontario, and foods made in Ontario if they include local ingredients.


The local food movement is gaining momentum with support from Ontario’s Local Food Strategy and current nutrition recommendations are evolving to address the demands of future food needs. For example, the much-anticipated update to Canada’s Food Guide (expected to be released this year) is said to highlight a need to shift toward more sustainable eating patterns with lower environmental impacts. 


At Food for Tots, we prioritize local and Canadian ingredients because integrating sustainable diet principles into our menus is an opportunity to support our communities and environment, while continuing to nourish the children we serve, and that you care for, day to day. 

Cultivate children’s natural curiosity and increase their “Local Food IQ” by engaging them in these local food-themed activities

Examples:

1. Create a colourful wheel of local fruits & vegetables for your centre:



Directions:

1. Cut out Circle 1, as well as the “window”.
2. Cut out Circle 2.
3. Align Circle 1 on on top of Circle 2.
4. Pin the center of both circles together so that you can rotate the wheel.
5. Allow children to colour in the “window” of local fruits and vegetables each season.

Discussion points:

  • Importance of taking care of our environment (the air that people and animals breathe, our trees, flowers, lakes, and oceans…). 
  • Benefits of eating more local and Canadian foods:
    • Bringing foods from far away from home can hurt the environment slowly over time (truck pollution).
    • Local foods come from closer to home and are healthier and safer for the environment.
2. Learn about where different fruits and vegetables grow with a matching activity

Author: Melissa Frankel, Registered Dietitian