FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
PROCESS AND TIMELINES
INFORMATION FOR GROWERS AND SUPPLIERS
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
1) What is Fresh from the Farm?
Fresh from the Farm, Healthy Fundraising for Ontario Schools, provides schools the opportunity to raise funds by selling fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to the community, while promoting healthy eating and supporting Ontario farmers. Fresh from the Farm is a single fundraising event, with the school delivery scheduled for a pre-advised date in November through to early December.
2) Why is Fresh from the Farm such a popular fundraiser for schools?
Fresh from the Farm promotes healthy eating by offering schools an innovative fundraising program that:
- raises awareness about the important role good nutrition plays in the development and well-being of children and youth
- helps to create a more supportive nutrition environment in schools
- supports the provincial government’s Student Nutrition Program’s efforts to develop healthier learning environments
- provides opportunities for introducing the related topics of agriculture, food, and healthy eating into the classroom
- provides funds for schools – schools keep 40% of sales
- aligns with Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy (PPM 150)
- supports The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy, 2017, and Ontario’s Local Food Act, 2013
- serves to stimulate the local economy through the promotion and sales of fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables.
Since 2013, 1165 Ontario schools have participated in Fresh from the Farm.
They collectively have distributed over 2.7 M pounds of fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to Ontario families.
3) Who is involved?
Fresh from the Farm is a collaborative initiative between the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, and Dietitians of Canada.
4) What are the products to be sold? Where are the fruit and vegetables grown?
Two ‘bundles’ of Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables are offered for sale.
- Vegetable Bundle contains: 5 lb potatoes, 3 lb carrots, 3 lb yellow onions, 3 lb sweet potatoes and sells for $14.00.
- Apple Bundle contains: 8 lb Empire apples and sells for $15.00.
Fruit and vegetable products are supplied by growers throughout various regions of Ontario. Please see GROWERS for further information. Whenever possible, produce is sourced from growers in each region. While there are hundreds of producers across the province (and many located near schools), the program must use growers who have the capacity to supply the entire program, or a particular region, with the quantities, packaging, and quality as advertised by Fresh from the Farm. All suppliers must also be food safety certified, carry the appropriate liability insurance, and demonstrate a level of responsiveness to receive their order near the end of October, and begin shipping packaged product in early November.
5) What profit does the school make?
- 40% of sales go directly to the school.
- Based on history, the average school raises around $1200, selling an average of 150 Vegetable bundls and 60 Apple bundles.
- The highest volume school in 2017 made a profit of almost $10,000.
6) What is the role of the School Champion?
The school champion is the key liaison with the Fresh from the Farm program coordinator and leads the management of the fundraiser on behalf of the school. Ideal candidates are a staff person or parent- volunteer, such as, teacher, vice-principal, principal, parent-council member.
Responsibilities include the coordination of all fundraising activities:
- enroling the school through the Fresh from the Farm website
- ordering the toolkit
- promoting Fresh from the Farm to the school community
- submitting the school order, collecting and remitting funds
- recruiting and organizing volunteers
- co-ordinating delivery and distribution, the same day customers pick up their orders.
7) Who can participate?
- ALL publicly- funded Ontario schools are eligible to participate*.
*Due to the challenge of providing a timely and cost-efficient Fresh from the Farm program delivery to some regions in northern Ontario, arrangements have been made for the school boards listed below, to participate in Manitoba's Healthy Choice Fundraiser Farm to School. Farm to School is supported by Peak of the Market, located in Winnipeg. Note that both school fundraisers (Ontario’s Fresh from the Farm, and, Manitoba’s Farm to School) are similar, although bundle contents and prices are different. Please proceed to Enrol for redirection to the Farm to School website www.farmtoschool.ca
School Boards Eligible to Participate in Manitoba’s Healthy Choice Fundraiser Farm to School:
- CSD du Grand Nord de l’Ontario
- CSDC des Aurores boréales
- Keewatin-Patricia DSB
- Kenora CDSB
- Lakehead DSB
- Northwest CDSB
- Rainy River DSB
- Superior North CDSB
- Superior-Greenstone DSB
- Thunder Bay CDSB
PROCESS AND TIMELINES
8) What is the sequence of events?
- May 6-September 27: School champion ENROLs the school and orders the toolkit.
- September 3: Students being to fundraise.
- October 16: Deadline for submitting orders/changes to orders
- NOTE: There is a minimum school order of 40 bundles (a total of both bundles, Vegetable and Apple; for instance, 20 Vegetable bundles and 20 Apple bundles = 40 total bundles).
- October 18: Invoice is generated and emailed to the school champion.
- 10 days in advance of the delivery day, schools will be notified.
- November 4-December 5: Deliveries to schools take place; there are no Friday deliveries and there is only one delivery scheduled per school.
9) How does the school enrol in Fresh from the Farm?
- The school champion registers at the ENROL page and selects the school board and the school and completes the contact information. Please be sure to include a second contact at the school (e.g., principal, vice-principal). The email for the school champion is the primary contact for Fresh from the Farm; all communication will be sent to that address. ENROL the school in the language (English, French) that the school operates in.
- The School Champion will receive a confirmation email and a link to set up a password for access to submit the school order and make changes to the contact information.
- Choose the fundraising Toolkit that best meets your school’s needs.
- 1. Kit “A” (English), and Kit “D” (French), includes 150 Information Flyer/ Student Order Forms (single sheet, printed on both sides).
- 2. Kit “B” (English), and Kit “E” (French), includes 300 Information Flyers/Student Order Forms (single sheet, printed on both sides).
- 3. Kit “C” (English), and Kit “F” (French), includes 450 Information Flyers/Student Order Forms (single sheet, printed on both sides).
- 4. Enter a “Toolkit Delivery” address; toolkits will be mailed starting August 23. NOTE: You can change the toolkit information (e.g., delivery address, choice of kit) up until August 1st. Just login, click on EDIT PROFILE.
- Alternately, you may choose “No Toolkit Required” and download the digital resources posted on the CHAMPIONS page to print additional Student Order Forms and/or email the Information Flyer/Student Order Form to parents. Note that there is a WORD version of both resources in the event you wish to add messaging (e.g., date to return Student Order Form to school) or other information specific to your school.
10) What happens on the delivery day?
View the Fresh from the Farm video on the About page to experience a typical delivery
- The driver delivers skids of produce to the receiving entrance (unless an alternate location is pre-advised).
- Volunteers are required to assist with unloading product from the truck and delivering it to the storage area; mobile dollies should be available.
- Produce is delivered in market-ready bags; apples are packaged in flat boxes or bags.
- The produce specifications are listed below:
- 3 lb bagged (poly) Ontario Carrots, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (mesh) Ontario Yellow Onions, Canada No. 1
- 5 lb bagged (paper or poly) Ontario White Potatoes, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (poly) Ontario Sweet Potatoes, Canada No. 1
- 8 lb Ontario Empire Apples (125 to 150 size), bagged (poly)
The market-ready bags of each (carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes) will arrive packed in larger bags or cartons; these need to be broken down
- Volunteers unload, sort and pack vegetable bundles into Fresh from the Farm bags (provided upon delivery).
- As a best practice we recommend that the bagged bundles are stored on a tarp or table top, ready for pick up.
- Families pick up orders at the school, the same day. It is not recommended to store product in the school over-night.
11) How do we submit our order?
- Login to Submit Orders: Input total number of bundles ordered, by school, or by class.
- NOTE: There is minimum school order of 40 bundles (a total of both bundles, Vegetables and Apples; for instance, 20 Vegetable bundles and 20 Apple bundles = 40 total bundles).
- Add Users: Add another school contact who can also edit and update orders.
- Edit Profile: Update your contact information and provide important delivery information that will assist our driver. For example, the school receiving area can:
- Accept skids?
- Accept trailers?
- Has a receiving dock?
12) How does the school receive their profit and remit payment?
Schools retain 40% of total revenue collected, as the profit.
- The invoice will be generated by the Fresh from the Farm website administrator and emailed to the School Champion on October 18th.
- The invoice is based on 60% of total revenue collected and will be calculated accordingly. There is no delivery fee.
- Payment is due upon receipt of invoice. VERY IMPORTANT: Please include the school number on the back of the cheque.
- Please make cheque payable to: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. Include a copy of the invoice and mail with the cheque to: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association c/o Fresh From the Farm Unit 105, 355 Elmira Road North Guelph ON N1K 1S5
13) What method of payment can students accept from customers?
Customers can pay by cash or cheque, payable to the school.
14) What is the role of volunteers? How many should we recruit?
Volunteers are required the day the produce is delivered to sort and pack bundles into Fresh from the Farm bags. We suggest: 5-7 volunteers for 100 bundles, 7-10 for 125 bundles, 10+ for 150+ bundles. Volunteers generally spend 2-4 hours packing bundles.
15) What are the recommended storage guidelines for Fresh from the Farm produce?
As a recommended best practice, all fruit and vegetables sold through Fresh from the Farm should be washed prior to consumption.
|Product||Store in Refrigerator||Store at Room Temperature||Tips|
|Carrots||Up to 3 weeks||No||Store in ventilated plastic bag for best quality. Peel, chop and blanch before freezing for longer term storage.|
|Onions||Up to 2 months||Up to 4 weeks||Store in ventilated mesh bag. Can be peeled, chopped and frozen for longer term storage. https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/onions|
|Potatoes||No||1-2 weeks at room temperature; 2-3 months in cold cellar||Do not expose to cold temperatures. Protect from light to avoid greening. http://www.ontariopotatoes.ca|
|Sweet Potatoes||No||1 week at room temperature||Do not expose to cold temperatures for best shelf life and quality. https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/food/sweet-potatoes|
|Apples||In perforated plastic bags up to several weeks||No||Store refrigerated, in ventilated plastic bag for best shelf life and quality. http://onapples.com|
16) How should issues related to shortages in the Fresh from the Farm order or quality of product be addressed?
- Depending on the circumstances Fresh from the Farm will reimburse the value of any missing product or product that does not meet stated quality specifications.
- Reimbursement will be in the form of a gift card and the value must be $5.00 or more.
- For quality credits the end user must have followed all recommended storage instructions.
|school champion or authorized school personnel||quantity or quality issue||Authorized school personnel must report any issues to firstname.lastname@example.org within 48 hours of the school delivery. Mark the issue on the paperwork provided by the driver for reference.|
|end user||quality issue||Customers should contact the school champion directly regarding product quality issues. The school champion must email email@example.com within 7 days of the date product was delivered and picked up by the customer.|
17) What is required to make Fresh from the Farm a success?
The success of Fresh from the Farm at the school is dependent upon:
- engaging an enthusiastic school champion to lead the campaign
- active participation amongst school staff and parents
- a strong team of volunteers - a great way for high school students to collect valuable volunteer hours
- adequate space at the school to receive the order, sort, pack, and distribute bundles (the same day)
- an ambitious group of students dedicated to selling fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to families and friends- while making revenue for their school.
18) How can we promote Fresh from the Farm to the community?
- Contact the local public health unit for additional support to present the Fresh from the Farm program to parent-council groups, school communities and other interested parties.
- Promote via the media screen in front of the school (as available).
- Post promotional flyers in local community centres and retail outlets.
- Insert information into school newsletters.
- Use the digital Fresh from the Farm brochure to email parents and raise awareness amongst the community.
- Link www.freshfromfarm.ca to the school website.
CONTACTS AND MORE INFORMATION
19) Additional Information or Questions
20) Information on Fundraising Guidelines for Schools
Fresh from the Farm meets the Ontario Guidelines for School Fundraising in which the funds raised for school purposes should not be used to replace public funding for education or those items funded through provincial grants. Visit the Ministry of Education website for more information.
21) Information and Recipes for Ontario-grown foods
- Visit RECIPES for popular recipe ideas and food facts.
- Visit the Foodland Ontario website for tasty, seasonal recipes, cooking tips and videos featuring fresh, Ontario-grown foods.
INFORMATION FOR GROWERS AND SUPPLIERS
22) What are the procurement requirements?
"Procurement" means buying goods and services. Procurement rules ensure that program and/or taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently, with no waste or abuse. There are four fundamental concepts related to procuring goods and services for Fresh from the Farm: full and open competition, responsible and responsive vendors, the buy local provision, and the role of food safety regulations.
An important principle of a sound procurement is competition. When procuring Ontario produce for Fresh from the Farm we strive for full and open competition, which essentially means all potential suppliers are on a level playing field. This also ensures that suppliers receive, and schools have access to competitive, wholesale pricing. It is a win, win for everyone.
2. Responsive and Responsible
In order to win a contract, vendors must be considered both responsive and responsible.
- To be considered “responsive,” vendors must conform to all of the program’s stated terms and conditions. For example, if the program issues a request for Canada no.1 bagged carrots and the vendor responds with a bid for ungraded carrots in 3 litre baskets, the vendor is not responsive.
- To be considered “responsible,” vendors must be capable of performing successfully under the terms and conditions of the contract. For example, the program requires that responders provide evidence of past success meeting delivery times. If upon calling the responder’s references it is learned that the vendor has a poor track record regarding on-time deliveries, the vendor would not be considered responsible.
A supplier who is responsible and submits a responsive offer is one that clearly complies with the solicitation’s terms and conditions, and that possesses, at the time of contract award, the experience, facilities, reputation, and other factors necessary to successfully fulfill the terms of the contract.
To maintain consistent grading, quality, and packaging for the produce across the entire program (as marketed on the Fresh from the Farm website), produce must be graded and packed as follows:
- 3 lb bagged (poly) Ontario Carrots, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (mesh) Ontario Onions, Canada No. 1
- 5 lb bagged (paper or poly) Ontario Potatoes, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (poly) Ontario Sweet Potatoes
- 8 lb Single Tray Pack Ontario Empire Apples (125 to 150 size)
Growers supplying the program are required to deliver their orders to central specified hubs in their particular regions as specified by Fresh from the Farm. This ensures that the school orders can be aggregated and distributed in the most timely and efficient manner.
3. Food Safety and Liability
Ontario has a strong agri-food industry working hard to ensure safe and healthy food for the people of the province. Fresh from the Farm is committed to purchasing produce from sources that are safe. As such, all suppliers must have proof of, and adherence to, food safety certification (Canada GAP or HACCP) and must carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance.
4. Local Provision (see response #24)
23) What is involved in the procurement process? Who do I contact?
There are five basic steps in the Fresh from the Farm procurement process:
- Develop specifications: Detail the annual requirements of the intended agreement, including delivery and packing conditions.
- Identify sources: Contact potential vendors in a variety of ways (e.g., suggestions from schools, calling on the phone, or emailing) and collect bids.
- Evaluate responses: Ensure that responders are responsible and responsive—in accordance with all aspects of the specifications. Document each bid even if it was offered in a face-to-face meeting.
- Award the contract: Determine which bidder offers the best value and award the contract to the bidder that is most responsive and responsible, with a fair market price.
- Manage the contract: Ensure the program receives everything from the vendor that the contract stipulates.
For those growers interested in supplying the program, please contact Dan Tukendorf DTukendorf@ofvga.org at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.
24) How do you define 'local procurement'?
There are many options for defining “local,” and definitions vary widely depending on the unique geography and climate where a school is located, and on the proximity to an abundance of local food producers. Many schools define local as within a certain number of miles, within the county, or within the province. While the phrase “local procurement” might conjure up images of a grower delivering produce straight to the backdoor of a school cafeteria, local foods does not always travel straight from the field. Although the program mostly buys directly from growers, produce is also purchased from Ontario packers, grower cooperatives, and food hubs. For example:
- A number of apple growing regions exist in Ontario, including Prince Edward, Clarington, and Northumberland Counties, Waterloo Region, Georgian Bay and the Niagara Region. Many smaller orchards sell to the public at an on-farm market or farmers’ market. Orchards also move their products to apple packer hubs where the apples are graded, stored and packed in bags or boxes for sale to the larger retail market.
- The vast majority of Ontario onions and carrots are grown in the Holland Marsh – located 50km north of Toronto. The Holland Marsh is commonly referred to as Ontario’s vegetable patch because of its incredible variety and large amounts of fresh produce. Produce selections range from more traditional crops such as carrots, onions and celery, to more diverse options like romaine lettuce and ethnic vegetables. The ability to grow and harvest these crops result from a combination of dedicated farmers and incredible muck soil. Many of these growers sell directly to grocery chains or at the Ontario Food Terminal. Smaller growers may also send their produce to local packers to be stored, graded, and packed.
- Ontario sweet potatoes grow primarily in Norfolk County .These sub-tropical plants like the warm sandy soil of this region.
Fresh from the Farm is committed to sourcing produce from Ontario. Whenever possible, produce is sourced from growers in each region. It must be kept in mind that this program moves a large amount of produce. While there are hundreds of producers across the province (and many located near schools), the program must use growers who have the capacity to supply the entire program or a particular region with the quantities, packaging, and quality as advertised by Fresh from the Farm. All suppliers must also be food safety certified, carry the appropriate liability insurance, and demonstrate a level of responsiveness to receive their order near the end of October, and begin shipping packaged producer in early November.