More children across Ontario will have access to milk through school nutrition programs thanks to a partnership between Dairy Farmers of Ontario and Student Nutrition Ontario
By Jackie Clark
Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) announced a partnership with Student Nutrition Ontario to give every child in the province the opportunity to access milk. The dairy organization announced in a Feb. 4 statement that it will provide up to $500,000 to Student Nutrition Ontario in 2020, representing a 10 cent donation for each serving of milk purchased.
“DFO has been running a number of programs in schools for the past 34 years. Education, nutrition and giving back to our local communities are an important part of DFO’s values,” Audrie Bouwmeester, manager of school programs for DFO, told Farms.com.
“This is our first time partnering with Student Nutrition Ontario and we are thrilled to be able to grow our support of the children in the communities where we live and work,” she said.
Many families across Ontario rely on school nutrition programs to help their children access a high-quality diet.
“DFO is deeply committed to helping decrease the barriers when it comes to accessing milk for children across Ontario. Between the ages of two and 12, children more than double their weight and height, laying the foundation for a body that will last a lifetime. Children who consume milk with lunch are more likely to meet their body’s growing needs,” Bouwmeester said.
Population health researchers found that cost was a genuine barrier to healthier eating in Canadian households when they analyzed the diet quality of students aged 10 to 11 years old in a study released in Dec. 2019. They found that diets that met the recommendations for meat and alternatives cost $1.39 more per day than diets that did not meet those recommendations. Under Canada’s updated food guide, dairy products are categorized as ‘protein foods.’
Milk “contains 15 essential nutrients, including calcium, protein, magnesium and phosphorus. Scientists and dietitians continue to see dairy products as an essential food staple and support the nutritional benefits of milk, such as the promotion of bone health,” Bouwmeester explained.
“We hope that through this partnership we can further support our local communities. We are thrilled to be able to assist Student Nutrition Ontario with their efforts to provide all students, regardless of circumstances, access to healthy meals each day,” she added.
“Ontario dairy farmers supporting Ontario’s children – what could be better,” Catherine Parsonage, Student Nutrition Ontario chair, said in the statement.
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