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The SSRCE was recently recognized as the best school food program in the province in a report from the Attorney General. Photo: SSRCE.

Aiming for local, healthy, delicious food with N.S. school lunch program: minister

By Caitlin Snow May 8, 2024 | 8:32 PM

Nutritious, local, healthy and delicious food is the goal of the school lunch program about to roll out in Nova Scotia.

Minister of Education, Becky Druhan, tells our newsroom they will make the “historic investment” available to all students who need it and to make it affordable and stigma free.

Druhan adds, they understand schools in the province have different resources, some with cafeterias and others not- so the program will be tweaked, depending.

“There will be different models from school to school. Some schools may produce food within the school, some may contract with external vendors…and so that will be determined on a school-by-school basis, based on resources.”

The plan will come in more than one phase.

First, grades pre-primary to 5 will have access early fall in 265 schools, until it reaches all students in the 373 schools across the province.

Druhan says younger students benefit the most when they have access to healthy and nutritious lunches and that this is a really big shift from what is now.

Local food important

Making sure the food available is produced locally, is also a big focus.

Druhan says it’s important to our economy and local food producers, but details still need to be ironed out.

“We have nutritionists who are working to develop a menu in line with Canada’s Food Guide.”

Four-year plan

More than 130,000 students are in Nova Scotia.

Druhan says the goal is to make the lunch program available to everyone, including older students, by the end of fours years.

She adds that she understands parents are eager, but to not forget that in the meantime, other food programs like breakfast and snacks are still available.