November 16, 2020

Dear Peggy Sattler,

As a constituent in this riding, I am writing to you to express my support for Bill 216, the Food Literacy for Students Act, 2020 and to ask for your support in passing Bill 216 through to full legislation.

Food security and healthy eating are fundamental aspects of human health and well- being. It is well documented that certain aspects of cancer, diabetes, and cardiac health could be related to lifestyle including dietary choices. Childhood obesity and incidents of Type II diabetes in children are a growing problem. From Grades 1 to 12, students are entitled to education that helps them reach their full potential in order to contribute to their families, community, and beyond. Hands-on experience in growing and preparing food as well as an understanding of local food systems will help students situate themselves in their personal, social, and environmental context regarding food.

As a nutrition professional and local business owner (Nutrition Bites), I have seen first hand through my work and experiences the need for this in our community and province.  I have made a business of teaching nutrition because the niche exists.  Yet it saddens me that it is only accessible to certain groups and is not embedded into our education system.  In other countries like Japan, every student spends many hours and sometimes months or years to learning this life skill.  In the past, these skills were taught at home but in the past 3 decades with both parents working outside the home this has drastically changed in my opinion.  What is taught at home is based on busy schedules and not consistent for each student/child depending on their socio-economic status as well.

The current system for teaching students about food literacy, local food and self-sufficiency in healthy eating is in need of improvement. I support advocates from across Ontario for change. I call on you to commit to implementing the Food Literacy for Students Act, 2020 for the well-being of students, our future citizens and leaders, across Ontario.

Thank you for your commitment.

Sincerely,

Sandra Venneri, BSc, PHEc