Vegetables are replacing overpriced, undernourished chocolate bars as a door-to-door fundraiser for some schools.
The Manitoba Association of Home Economists, Peak of the Market and the Manitoba government have joined forces to get the Farm to School program started in the province.
Farm to School takes the place of traditional fundraisers. Customers have the option of buying two different bags of vegetables. Option A contains three pounds of carrots, three pounds of onions and five pounds of potatoes and is $10. Option B contains five pounds of carrots, one pound of parsnips, three pounds of onions, 10 pounds of potatoes and one cabbage for only $20.
Peak of the Market provides the vegetables and delivery to the schools. Just like regular fundraisers, students go to customers, family and neighbours, and take their orders and payments. Then they return it all to the school. With this fundraiser, unlike most, the school keeps 50 per cent of the profits.
2010 was the pilot year for this project and was a great success said Getty Stewart, president of the Manitoba Association of Home Economists. Sixty-five per cent of the schools who responded to the fundraiser said it was more successful than other fundraisers they have tried.
“This works for schools, they like it. It ties to the curriculum. Parents like it; they had nothing but positive feedback,” she said. “Even parents who don’t like fundraisers got behind this one and said, “This I can support.” We were thrilled with that.
Stewart told the recent Growing Local conference 98 per cent of schools said it met their profit goals.
Sixty-five schools in 41 communities par ticipated in the first year. A total of 7,983 bags of vegetables were sold; 5,012 of option A and 2,971 of option B. Organizers were happy with the variety of schools and the fact that not all of the schools were located in Winnipeg. Fortysix per cent of the schools were rural, 38 per cent urban and 19 per cent northern.
Due to the success of the pilot project, the program will continue and be open to all interested Manitoba schools. So far, only schools will be allowed to participate in this fundraiser, despite the many interests from a variety of groups.
In years to come, the hope is that not only will schools’ participation grow but the program will be offered to other organizations as a unique, healthy fundraiser.