Getting Feet Back on the Ground
With the school year (virtually) back in full-swing, so too are our efforts to ensure the school food system in New Brunswick is working for its students. While our original intention to institutionalize a School Food Waste and Recovery Program is understandably being reshaped to fit the new school food reality, and school garden development is on hiatus until schools return safely in-person, Elijah’s Promise is still steadfast in its commitment to the community’s school food system.
We are in the process of integrating a new FoodCorps program into the schools we previously partnered with. This new aspect to our partnership will help ensure that we are on the ground in the schools helping students build healthy food relationships and offering instruction that combines social-emotional learning, physical activity outside, and of course, food.
We are also moving towards adapting our Let’s Cook For Kids program, through our FoodCorps service member, to become a tool for helping students build new relationships with their home-food environment. Seeing as their homes will be the primary space where they engage with food, both school food and otherwise, for the foreseeable future, we see this aspect of their healthy food relationships as a priority for improving healthy eating and driving healthful participation in child nutrition programs such as school lunch and school breakfast, since, at this time, while they are both offered daily to every student free of charge, participation is more optional than ever as they are offered remotely, after school, for consumption at home.
We are also on the precipice of launching a paid high school internship program called Your Food, Your Choice designed to teach students about their school food system, train them in advocacy and organizing, and support them as they work to implement institutional changes to their school food system. This program will further cement Elijah’s Promise’s place on the ground in schools while allowing the consumers of school food themselves, the students, to take a leading role in deciding what aspects of their school food system need to be improved and how they will work to change them.
While so much is still uncertain, we are thrilled to begin this next chapter in our quest to make New Brunswick’s school food system healthier, more sustainable, and altogether more just.
About the Grantee
Elijah’s Promise harnesses the power of food to break the cycle of poverty, alleviate hunger, and change lives.