26 October 2023
British Columbia Teacher runs 200 laps for $200 million for healthy school food
Food Security • News
On Friday, October 27, Brent Mansfield, Lord Roberts Elementary School teacher, will run 200 laps, 90 km, around his school to draw attention to the Government of Canada’s commitment to invest 200 million dollars per year for five years to establish a national school food program. Students from the school will join him during school hours for the event “Going the Distance for Healthy School Food”.
“I know running 200 laps on the sidewalk around my school will be challenging, but with every lap, I will imagine what $200 million could do for kids across Canada next school year. With that in mind, I trust that I will be able to go the distance for healthy school food. I hope the Government of Canada will too,”said Brent Mansfield.
Canada is the only country in the G7 without a national school food program. UNICEF’s 2017 report card ranks Canada 37 out of 41 among the world’s richest countries regarding providing healthy food for kids.
“School food programs have far reaching benefits, including enhancing children’s access to nutritious food; supporting physical and mental health; improving behavior and school performance; and promoting positive eating habits,” emphasizes Debbie Field, National Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.
In the lead-up to the run, students will be involved in writing letters, making signs and costumes, and creating short videos to join the campaign for a national school food program. These videos will be shared on the Coalition for Healthy School Food’s social media platforms next week. Students have also been providing ideas and inspiration for a social media campaign to ask influential Canadians (including Vancouver-born actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ryan Reynolds) to speak out for school food in Canada.
Since 2014, the Coalition for Healthy School Food has been advocating for public investment in a universal healthy school food program that would ensure all K-12 students have access to healthy food at school every day. In 2021, the Government of Canada committed $200 million per year for five years to develop a national school food policy and work towards a national school food program; however, they have yet to fund school food in a federal budget.
The event is aligned with the advocacy work of the Coalition for Healthy School Food. Brent was part of the founding meetings of the Coalition in Halifax in 2014. He was also involved in the formation of the BC Chapter of the Coalition, administered by the Public Health Association of BC, and has been a member of the BC Chapter Steering Committee since it was founded five years ago.
About the Coalition for Healthy School Food
The Coalition of Healthy School Food’s 270+ members, 130+ formal endorsers, and thousands of supporters from across Canada, including active school food providers, academics, and experts, attest to a strong nationwide consensus that proceeding swiftly with a national school food program is of urgent importance.
For more information/ interview request:
Elementary School Teacher (a short film about Brent’s teaching program and LunchLAB, a partnership with Growing Chefs, was produced for CBC Vancouver and released last month)
Coalition for Healthy School Food
BC Chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food
Coalition for Healthy School Food