VICTORIA, B.C. - As the school year kicks off, the B.C. Green Caucus is calling on the BC NDP to support a universal school food program that not only takes care of kids' well-being but also helps families save time and money.
"We've got a big hole in our social safety net without a school food program in B.C.," said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. "By making it universal, we can make sure all kids get nutritious meals and make life more affordable for families."
During the pandemic, food bank usage surged by over 20%, continuing to rise amidst record-breaking inflation. According to Stats Canada, food retail prices have increased by 11.4% this year. Shockingly, one in three food bank users in B.C. are children. A universal school food program would change that by giving children of all incomes access to healthy, locally sourced meals, setting them up for success in school and beyond.
"From a parent's point of view, this is definitely a cost of living issue, but making lunches is one of those tedious tasks that few parents love. We're worried about both our kids' well-being and our own mental health, knowing our children are getting a healthy meal at school,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
A universal school food program would include:
- Equal Access: Every kid in British Columbia, regardless of their family's money situation, would have the same chance to enjoy healthy meals.
- Nutritional Standards: Meals will meet comprehensive guidelines, supporting children's health and development.
- School and Community Collaboration: Collaboration with schools, organizations, and local farmers to promote sustainable practices and educate children about healthy eating habits.
While Canada remains the only G7 nation without a national school food program, a newly released study by Breakfast Club of Canada highlights that 84% of Canadians believe the federal Liberal government should promptly fulfill its election campaign promise to allocate a $1 billion investment over five years for the establishment of a national school nutritious meal program.
“B.C. has the opportunity to lead the way,” said Furstenau. “The positive impact of such a program would extend far beyond the dinner table, benefiting our farmers, families, and the next generation of British Columbians.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]