Mississauga, March 7, 2007 - “Just by eating Greenbelt apples, you have become great stewards of the land,” Lea Ann Mallett, Executive Director of EcoSource told students from Thomas Street Middle School. “An apple from the local Greenbelt farm is fresh and delicious,” she explained. “But did you know that it also takes only a little energy to bring that apple to you? Your Greenbelt snack created much less pollution and smog getting from the farm to here, than an apple that traveled all the way from the West Coast.
“It takes a long time for adults to change their ways,” she said. “So you can set an example for us by doing everyday things to help reduce global warming - like eating Greenbelt apples. We can’t rebuild our suburbs, but we can rebuild our ties with our living countryside.”
Today’s launch of the pilot for EcoSource's Greenbelt Farm to School program introduces Thomas Street Middle School students to “local foods” through the enjoyment of seasonal fresh Greenbelt produce at snack time. The project, funded by a grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, also has students visiting local farms, and participating in spring planting and fall harvesting.
“We all know how important healthy snacks are to young people for health and for learning,” says Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. “We also know that buying healthy food from Greenbelt farmers supports local agriculture. I am delighted that the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation chose EcoSource to pilot this groundbreaking program. Congratulations to Thomas Street Middle School for being the first school to join the Farm to School program. I look forward to more schools joining this effort.”
Schools throughout Peel Region are being invited to join this growing program. The pilot’s aim is to take advantage of increasing student and family interest in local nutritious foods. EcoSource hopes to build a compelling business case to convince the two Peel school boards to create a district-wide program to purchase their school children’s healthy snacks from local Greenbelt farmers.
“As the father of three young school children,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, “I think it important that they learn at an early age where their food comes from. Ultimately I hope that when they look at Greenbelt apples they see them as irresistible, because they are fresh, juicy and delicious, and at the same time good for the planet.”