Local Foods Grow Healthy, Happy, Successful Students

Written by admin, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014 – Breakfast and Snack Programs Receive Local Produce in JustFood Boxes

Screen Shot 06-02-14 at 10.05 AMThanks to an innovative new partnership, students from 42 area schools received JustFood Boxes in April and May, helping students enjoy more fresh and local vegetables and fruit, while also supporting local farmers.

Bursting with home grown flavour and colour, locally-sourced apples, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and beets were included in the JustFood Boxes as part of a pilot project coordinated by Food for Kids, the YWCA, and the Greenbelt Initiative.

With April’s box featuring 550 lbs of beets from Orono and tasty, kid-friendly recipes, the boxes are a great way to expose kids to a variety of new, healthy choices. “Schools were creative in using the beets,” said Student Nutrition Program School Community Co-Ordinator, Chris McCarthy.  “The pink hummus, pink smoothies and pink pancakes were quite a hit with the kids!”

The success of this partnership was the focus of Local Food Week celebrations at this morning’s breakfast program at Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School in Peterborough.

Helping Local Farmers Expand Their Reach

School breakfast programs have always been encouraged to use local foods in their programs.  To further expand the supply network of locally-produced foods, a new regional online program, called Find Local Food, found at www.farmsatwork.ca, has been designed to connect schools, restaurants and wholesale buyers of all kinds to local farmers.

“If you’re looking for local foods, simply go online and post what you’re looking for on our website,” explained Pat Learmonth, director of the not-for-profit Farms at Work project. “Hundreds of farmers, who sign up to get requests by email or read posts online, will have the opportunity to contact you, and from there you work together to get local products on the table.”

“Choosing local makes sense: nutritious and economic food choices help our kids eat well and perform their best in school while supporting our local farmers and economy.  What a great combination!” said Public Health Nutritionist, Luisa Magalhaes from Public Health. 

Breakfast programs are a key ingredient in healthy, happy, successful students. Get involved and help our kids succeed! Food for Kids is looking for funding to increase the delivery and partnership of local food to schools. To volunteer or donate to Food or Kids, visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/ffk. Together, we can help improve child nutrition, well-being, and learning capacity, one breakfast at a time! 


Pink Hummus Recipe 

3 medium beets, washed, leave the skin on

1 tsp olive oil

¼ cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

¼ cup water

¼ cup lemon juice


  1. Cook beets in a large pot of boiling water for 40 minutes or until tender. When cooled, peel beets and roughly chop.
  2. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add beets, onion mixture, chickpeas, tahini, water and lemon juice to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Serve with fresh vegetables and whole wheat pita wedges!




For further information, please contact:

Luisa Magalhaes, MHSc, RD
Public Health Nutritionist
Peterborough Public Health
(705) 743-1000, ext. 233

Chris McCarthy
Food For Kids Student Nutrition Program School Community Coordinator
(705) 742-2269