Gathering to eat is one of our most cherished ceremonies as human beings. Learning about and appreciating the many customs associated with growing and sharing food is an important part of growing up. 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.
School food too often lacks nourishment. This is due to a complex set of factors and is true for students across the socio-economic spectrum. 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.
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.
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:
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 work collaboratively to support efficient access to diverse local food streams, including: rescued, farm grown, and locally produced products. We partner with diverse local organizations to help connect school communities with food resources so they can stretch limited budgets and 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 in our region.
Make School More Nourishing. School can be a difficult place. Food can make it softer, richer, more nourishing and more accessible.
Educate. This is the professed goal of schools. 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.
Empower. We want to support youth to see opportunities in food. Opportunities to develop a stronger, better future for us all.