About Flourish School Food Society

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About Us

Flourish! School Food Society brings nourishing change to the way students eat and learn about food in schools. Because what and how we eat significantly impacts the wellbeing of our communities and planet.

We are working to help build school meal programs for all students that are supported by curriculum connected, experiential learning opportunities in school gardens, kitchens and composts.

Every school is unique. We aim to provide tailored service to meet schools where they’re at, and support the slow development of a nourishing school food environment.

Our Team

Matthew Kemshaw
Executive Director
Alison Ryan
Executive Chef
Shawna Beamish
Project Chef
Kat Mui
Project Chef
Eric Schmidt
Project Chef
Scott Graham
Project Chef
Jackie Sadler
Garden Coordinator
Taylor Long
Executive Assistant
Thor Gostasson
Bruce Clarke

Our objective is to offer:

  • Fun, nourishing meals. We create diverse, seasonal and youth friendly menus, and prepare and distribute hundreds of scratch cooked meals and snacks daily to schools across the region.
  • Food aggregation and distribution. We support bulk buying and delivery of groceries to schools. We partner with diverse local organizations to help stretch limited budgets and help schools do more with food in house.
  • Food literacy. We support school based staff in integrating food learning across the curriculum and highlight good practice for school food programming and pedagogy.

Our Goals are To Help:          

  1. Make School More Nourishing. Food can make school a softer, richer, more nourishing and more accessible place. Where food is offered openly, students feel welcome and cared for.       
  2. Educate. We believe an educated citizen must know how to grow and share food in nourishing ways. We help educate teachers, parents and students in connected, hands-on ways.
  3. Empower. We want to support youth to see opportunities in food. Opportunities to develop a stronger, better future for us all.    


Our work is guided by decades of diverse experiences in supporting school and community food stewardship and service. Flourish was born from our founding collaborators, who are: the Victoria Community Food Hub Society, the Capital Region Food Share Network, The Mustard Seed, Farm to School BC, and the Sooke School District #62. These founders worked together in the 2022/23 school year to create the Setting the Table school food pilot project, which aimed to feed 200 students per day for 100 days across eight schools and build the systems to support a flourishing school food program in the Sooke School District.
We are advocating for and working to support the development of a universal, cost-shared school meal program.
Long before our founding collaborators created Flourish! a broader group of organizations led years of participatory learning, seeking to understand how they could best support the schools of our region to create truly healthy school food environments. These organizations organized together as part of what they called the School Food Shift Collaborative. This collaborative was founded by: the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR), the LifeCycles Project Society, Farm to School BC, the Capital Region Food Share Network, and Island Health’s Healthy Schools Program. Over the years the following organizations joined the School Food Shift Collaborative: Growing Chefs!, Growing Young Farmers, the South Island FarmHub, The Mustard Seed, and Kitchen Connect.
We work collectively as part of the Coalition for Healthy School Food. Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national school food program. Canada's current patchwork of school food programming reaches only a small percentage of our over five million students. We are advocating for and working to support the development of a universal, cost-shared school meal program. To learn more about the Coalition and why this work matters, visit: