The school food solution

Creating a healthy school food environment with Canada’s Food Guide




School Food, Food Policy, Canada’s Food Guide, Sustainable Food Systems, Policy Implementation, Nutrition Equity, Food Environment, Climate Friendly Diet, Plant-Based, Local Procurement


In 2021, Canada’s federal government made a historic commitment to develop a national school food policy. Among overlapping challenges of increasing food insecurity, rising food costs, and the impact on food systems from climate change, there is now an opportunity to create a school food environment that ensures universal access to nutri­tious foods and supports sustainability in food sys­tems. A universal school food program can ensure that all children, regardless of income, access the recommended nutritious foods and can promote climate-friendly diets. Such school food programs can also support local farmers and regional econo­mies. In this paper, we outline the policy context for the new Canada’s Food Guide and the researched benefits of school food. We argue that Canada’s Food Guide can support a healthy school environment that is equitable and that promotes sustainability in the food system by embracing founding principles of diet equity and sustainabil­ity. Our concluding discussion outlines issues to be addressed in implementation.


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Author Biographies

Chantelle Dacunha, University of Toronto

Graduate Student, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Eric Ng, University of Toronto

Assistant Professor-Teaching Stream, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Sarah Elton, Toronto Metropolitan University

Ph.D.; Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology



How to Cite

Dacunha, C., Ng, E., & Elton, S. (2022). The school food solution: Creating a healthy school food environment with Canada’s Food Guide. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 12(1), 157–169.