The expansion will allow The Good Food Machine to reach 20,000 students across Canada, providing them with both access to healthy food plus education on how to grow, harvest and prepare nutritious food.
First launched in Canada in 2016, The Good Food Machine, an adaptation of the educationally acclaimed Green Bronx Machine, aims to transform the health and eating habits of students through experiential education on how to physically grow and cook healthy food – right in the classroom. By doing this, the Good Food Machine is seeking to help advance three of the priority goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
- End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
The Good Food Machine aims to help by donating Good Food Machine kits to teachers so kids can learn to grow, harvest, cook and eat healthy food, creating a year-round, indoor edible classroom. The program focuses on student communities who face high external barriers to school success, including some Indigenous communities.
In its first year, The Good Food Machine has seen positive results among students with 93 per cent saying they know eating fruits and veggies is important since experiencing the Good Food Machine, 87 per cent knowing more about growing food and 66 per cent saying their eating habits have changed for the better.
"After just one year we are thrilled to see the positive impact The Good Food Machine is having on students across Canada," says Angela Simo Brown, Head of Social Impact Strategy and Innovation at LoyaltyOne. "Working together with these schools, we are helping to change eating habits of Canadian children for the better, connecting them with fresh food and providing them with the tools they need to grow, learn and be healthy for life."
LoyaltyOne is an expert in driving behaviour change and aims to use The Good Food Machine program to educate and motivate students to choose fruits and veggies over less healthy options. The Good Food Machine partner, FoodShare supports the program with expert food educators who are skilled in teaching food literacy and growing to students and teachers.
"As educators, we see the negative effects of poor eating habits and lack of healthy food literacy among students first-hand," says Brian Hill, Principal Eastdale Collegiate Institute. "The Good Food Machine has played a pivotal role in helping us educate our students about the importance of healthy eating and how to grow and prepare healthy food. It helps change their eating habits, gives them skills and instills in them lifelong knowledge to make healthy food choices."
LoyaltyOne's current focus is to optimize the program for all 23 schools for this school year, and then next year will continue to expand the program to new communities across Canada.