General News

Sustaining “Farm to School” for the forseeable future

July 17, 2018   ·   0 Comments


With the successful born in Dufferin “Farm to School” program reaching the end of its Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant, Coordinators Jennifer Payne and Nicole Hambleton are seeking to re-engage the community to develop and implement sustainability and fundraising  plans to ensure the program’s future.

Led by Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance (HFFA) and supported by Headwaters Community in Action (HCIA,) the “Farm to School” project was “cherished in the community,” says HCIA Lead Shirley Boxem. “The grant actually completed in 2017, however, with some fiscal creativity, the program was extended to the end of the school year in June 2018.”

“These programs have been a labour of love for us since day one back in 2013,” say Ms. Payne and Ms. Hambleton, “and turned into very meaningful employment, allowing us to serve our communities as well as our families. We may have been the faces of the programs, and the feet on the ground, but they were built also by the hands, hearts and minds (and funds) of our valued partners, participants, and community members, whose support has turned them into the successful programs they are today.”

As the coordinators are now busy with fundraising efforts, two new program coordinators have been hired to continue Jennifer and Nicole’s excellent work, “to apply a fresh lens to the programs and to consider the recommendations that resulted from a formal evaluation conducted as part of the OTF grant,” says the team. The new program coordinators will be Shelagh McRuvie and Adelle Barr-Klouman.

The team says Shelagh McRuvie of Bolton has an extensive background in management of The Grocery Foundation’s Breakfast Voucher Program, including communications with Student Nutrition Ontario Agencies and individual schools. The Grocery Foundation’s Voucher Program helps provide nutritious meals and snacks for hungry kids in schools in Ontario.

Adelle Barr-Klouman of Mono Township has a lot of experience with children, various schools, and the Upper Grand District School Board as a teacher, says the team, as well as experience in a variety of volunteer roles. She is a passionate advocate for land stewardship and spearheaded a refugee sponsorship group locally.

The new coordinators for “Farm to School” told The Free Press, “We are so excited to be involved with this amazing program that connects kids with local food and helps families understand the importance of supporting their community farmers and food producers. We are looking forward to bringing local food education to more Headwaters’ families in the 2018-19 school year.”

The former leaders turned fundraisers, Jennifer Payne and Nicole Hambleton, hope to find success in providing continued financial support for the program. All four of the women participated in the organizing of the recent “Pop Up” dinner at Fiddle Foot Farm and are looking toward the next event: “Savour Fair” at Landman’s Farm in Grand Valley on August 12. “Savour Fair will bring together families, local farmers, food producers, and artisans for an afternoon of good eats, good drink, good art, and good fun,” says Jennifer Payne.

Shirley Boxem and the HCIA Leadership Council and organization express their thanks Jennifer Payne and Nicole Hambleton for their “passion and energy in bringing this program to families in Headwaters. This has been a flagship program for the organization and a perfect example of what can happen when champions converge with the resources and supports to allow great ideas to take flight.”



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