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 and registered child care centres 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 offered in September, with the school delivery scheduled for an 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, over 2,200 Ontario schools have participated in Fresh from the Farm.
They collectively have distributed over 4 million 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 Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ontario Ministry of Education.
4) What are the products to be sold? Where are the fruit and vegetables grown?
Two different ‘bundles’ of Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables are offered for sale.
- 14lb Vegetable Bundle contains: 5 lb potatoes, 3 lb carrots, 3 lb yellow onions, 3 lb sweet potatoes and sells for $22.00 (less than $1.60/lb).
- 8lb Apple Bundle contains: 8 lb Ambrosia apples and sells for $24.00 (only $3.00/lb for a premium variety).
Fruit and vegetable products are supplied by growers throughout various regions of Ontario. Please see GROWERS for further information. 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 total sales go directly to the school.
- Based on history, a school selling an average of 150 Vegetable bundles and 60 Apple bundles raises $1560.
- 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.
Prior to enrolling please check with your school principal and local public health unit guidelines.
Responsibilities include the coordination of all fundraising activities:
- -Enrolling the school through the Fresh from the Farm website
- -Promoting Fresh from the Farm to the school community
- -Submitting the school order, collecting and remitting funds to Fresh from the Farm
- -Recruiting and organizing volunteers
- -Coordinating product delivery and order distribution in your school
7) Who can participate?
- -All public and private schools registered to operate in Ontario within our delivery zones
- -First Nation schools within our delivery zones
- -Registered child care care centers within our delivery zones
If your school is not listed on the Enrol page please contact us to see if you are eligible.
*Our partnership with Manitoba's Farm to School program to serve schools in northwestern Ontario (west of Sault Ste. Marie) has ended due to the increased operating costs and lack of interest from schools the past several years. Unfortunately the schools in the boards listed below are currently not eligible to participate. We will update this section when a suitable option is developed.
- -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?
*Please note dates are subject to change
- May 15 to September 22: School champion ENROLs the school on this website under the ENROL tab.
- October 12: Deadline for submitting orders/changes to orders on your online account on freshfromfarm.ca
- 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).
- Week of October 16th: Invoice for product will be generated and emailed to the school champion after order is processed with payment options.
- -10 days in advance of the delivery day, schools will be notified of their specific delivery date and 3 hour delivery window either morning or afternoon.
- -Between November 6 and December 7: Deliveries to schools take place between Monday and Thursday; there are no Friday deliveries or deliveries the day before a PD Day. 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, administration). 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.
10) What happens on the delivery day?
Please follow current local public health unit guidelines for gathering limits and physical distancing when planning vegetable bundle distribution assembly and process.
View the Fresh from the Farm video on the About page to experience a typical delivery
- -The driver delivers pallets of produce to the accessible entrance of the schools choice. Due to liability restrictions the drivers are not able to move product into the schools.
- -Volunteers are required to assist with moving product from the delivery door of choice and moving it to the storage area. Having mobile carts or pallet jack would be helpful.
- -Produce is delivered packed in consumer bags in master shipping cartons. The vegetable bundles items (carrots, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes) will need to be packed by volunteers into Fresh from the Farm bags provided. Or schools can advise their customers to bring reusable bags or totes to collect their root vegetables.
- -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 bagged Ontario Ambrosia Apples, bagged (poly)
- -As a best practice we recommend that the bagged bundles are stored on a tarp or table top, ready for pick up away from any sources of heat such as radiators or heat vents.
- -Families pick up orders at the school, the same day of delivery or the next day at the latest to maintain freshness and prevent quality issues.
11) How do we submit our order?
- Login to Submit Orders: Input total number of each bundle sold by your school.
- 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.
- You can update your order and school information anytime up until the order deadline date.
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 and emailed to the School Champion after the order has been processed.
- -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: If paying by cheque please include the school number on the back of the cheque.
- -Coming soon for the 2023 fundraiser schools will be able to pay by credit card or etransfer on Fresh from the Farm website. Details to follow.
- If paying by cheque please make cheques 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?
Your customers can pay for the product in the format (cash, cheque, cash-online) instructed by your school. If cheques are an option your customers must make the cheque payable to your school and NOT to the Fresh from the Farm program.
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 when received at home?
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?
- If possible, FFF will attempt to replace shortages or product with quality issues. If we are unable to do so we will offer a reimbursement.
- Reimbursement will be in the form of a grocery gift card and the value of product 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 24 hours of the school delivery. |
|your customers/families||quality issue||Customers should contact the school champion or school 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 and enthusiastic school champion to lead the campaign
- -Reviewing how-to guide on the Champions page
- -Active participation among 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?
- -Promote via the media screen in front of the school (as available).
- -Post promotional flyers in visible areas around the school
- -Send promotion through e-newsletters.
- -Use the digital Fresh from the Farm brochure to email parents and raise awareness among the school 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 grown Carrots, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (mesh) Ontario grown Onions, Canada No. 1
- 5 lb bagged (paper or poly) Ontario grown Potatoes, Canada No. 1
- 3 lb bagged (poly) Ontario grown Sweet Potatoes
- 8 lb bagged (perforated poly) Ontario grown Ambrosia Apples (88/113 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 have active food safety plans in place and operate safely according to all relevant workplace safety regulations. As such, all suppliers must have proof of, and adherence to, food safety certification (Canada GAP or equivalent) 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. 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 product in early November to early December.