Bring Nutrition Education to Life in the Classroom

Every year, BC Dairy awards teachers with Mini Food Grants of $50-$150 to purchase food for enhancing nutrition education efforts in the classroom. It’s wonderful to see how teachers find simple, yet creative, ways to inspire students to develop healthier eating habits. Despite teachers using readily available and common foods, many students are trying these foods for the first time in the classroom!

Kindergarten student smiling and enjoying a yogurt parfait

Mini Food Grant Eligibility

Who can apply for a Mini Food Grant?

BC teachers can apply if they have taken a workshop and are teaching the Grades K-1 Food Explorers program, the Grades 2-3 Food For Us! transition lesson plans, or the Grades 4-7 Passport to Health Living transition lesson plans during the 2021-2022 school year.

Do I need to order BCDA nutrition materials to be eligible?

Yes, you need to have ordered or downloaded the corresponding materials for the school year in order to be eligible.  All materials can be ordered through your new online ordering account. If you are unsure if you have an account or how to access it, please contact nutrition@bcdairy.ca.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many children have never tried different kinds of berries [or] yogurt, …or [have] asked for seconds when we made fruit parfaits and zucchini crisps … The children and I have had a great year of food exploring.”

– KINDERGARTEN CLASS TEACHER, HARRY HOOGE ELEMENTARY IN MAPLE RIDGE

How to apply for a Mini Food Grant

Apply for the grant by creating or logging into your new online account and clicking on the “Forms” tab at the top of the page.

Applications are open twice a year in September and January. We are currently accepting applications from August 17, 2021–October 1, 2021.

What do I need to include in my application?

For the Grades K-1 Food Explorers program, the Grades 2-3 Food For Us! transition lesson plans, or the Grades 4-7 Passport to Health Living transition lesson plans available during the 2021-2022 school year, share how you’ll be using food to enhance the lessons from the program that you will be teaching. All three food categories (Vegetables and fruit, Grain foods, and Protein foods) need to be included in order to be eligible for the grant.

Consider referring to Kitchen Equipment for your Classroom for tips on how to incorporate different foods into your classroom.

Grant funding will vary depending on the program you are teaching and the food activities planned. Teachers are eligible for one grant per school year, up to a maximum of $150.

Tips for strengthening your application

Be sure to mention how you will use one or more of the following key nutrition principles:

  • Use a neutral approach when talking about foods high in fat, salt and or sugar, evidence shows that providing a neutral approach to food helps foster a positive relationship with food.
  • Avoid food rewards: There is good evidence to show the benefit of avoiding the use of bribes to encourage good behaviour. Find out more about this concept here.
  • Offer opportunities to taste without pressure. Allow all children to have an equal opportunity to taste, without pressure to have “just one bite.” Let each child decide if he/she will taste a food or not.
  • Use age-appropriate activities: As with any other subject, use age-appropriate activities to support behaviour change and life-long learning. A good example of this is the Food Explorers program, which provides K-1 children with hands-on experiences and pressure-free opportunities to taste a variety of foods from different food categories. It is designed to give children the best chance at making healthy behaviour changes. Content such as food category classification and reading labels is important, but best suited for older students.
  • Use commonly available foods: Exploring affordable and readily available foods further strengthens nutrition education. As such, it is strongly suggested to avoid using expensive and/or rare foods (such as dragonfruit).

Consult your teacher guide for more on the above principles and always feel free to get in touch with us  to learn more.

Close up of students making hummus

More About Mini Food Grants

Can the food be used to help feed hungry children at my school?

Unfortunately, this grant is modest and is intended for educational purposes. It is in no way intended for, or capable of, addressing food security concerns.

How have other teachers used their grants?

Teachers from across BC share their stories with us every year. Here’s a taste.

How can I apply?

Contact one of the dietitians at BC Dairy to learn more by emailing nutrition@bcdairy.ca

What happens if my application is not successful?

If your application was complete but you were not successful, we will send you a letter explaining why. You’ll have another chance to apply for funding.

For any questions or if you didn’t hear back, please feel free to get in touch with us at nutrition@bcdairy.ca

Apply for a Mini Food Grant

pply by creating or logging into your new online account in our teacher portal, and click on the “Forms” tab at the top of the page.

Learn More