Food providers’ experiences with a central procurement school snack program
Keywords:School children, Snack program, Fruit and vegetables, Food procurement, Food providers
Universal, government-funded school food programs (SFPs) offer many benefits not only to the children they serve, but also to the communities that support them. To date, Canada does not have a national SFP. Thus, if one is to be considered, evaluations of current SFPs in a Canadian context are necessary. This study explored food providers’ experiences with the Centrally Procured School Food Program (CPSFP) in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Twenty interviews were conducted with individuals involved in the production, procurement, and delivery of food to schools. Successes included improved economies of scale, increased profile and awareness of local food systems, and enhanced reach into schools. Challenges included inconsistent delivery times and unexpected food volumes that placed additional burdens on program implementation. Recommendations for program sustainability included enhanced engagement of partners, sustained funding to build capacity (including paid personnel), and more learning opportunities for students. Food providers gave insights on how the CPSFP can be improved and sustained into the future, as well as its potential to provide new opportunities for all stakeholders and have a positive impact on the local food system.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Mariam R Ismail, Jason A Gilliland, June I Matthews, Danielle S Battram
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