Posted by Adrienne Malloy on May 03, 2024
This past April 6, Joseph Howe School proudly hosted a pivotal gathering dedicated to enhancing the school’s food programs. The Food Summit brought together 27 attendees from diverse backgrounds, including Joseph Howe School (JHS) leadership and staff, community partners, and dedicated volunteers. This event was made possible through the collaboration of organizations such as Nourish Nova Scotia, Schools Plus, Parker Street Food Bank and Furniture Clinic, Rotary Club of Halifax Harbour, Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS), HRCE, Praxius, Coalition for Healthy School Food, YouthNet, and Loaded Ladle.
The summit was opened by Michael MacDonald, Principal of JHS, who expressed his gratitude towards everyone's continuous support for the school's children. The session, expertly facilitated by Chris Hornberger, commenced with insightful presentations from Claire Allély of Nourish and Laura Hutt of Schools Plus. They provided a detailed context of the current state of the food program at JHS, covering logistics, funding sources, and the existing strains on the system.
The attendees then engaged in dynamic 'world café' style discussions focused on two main themes: Program Streamlining and Program Sustainability. These discussions were organized around four key topics:
  • Coordination and People Capacity
  • Funding and Physical Space
  • The role of JHS in family food security
  • Suggestions for the Provincial Government’s recently announced Lunch program
Participants had the opportunity to rotate among these topics, ensuring a comprehensive engagement and a multitude of perspectives in tackling these crucial issues.As the summit concluded, several actionable steps were proposed to move forward:
  • Creation of a databank of partners, programs, and local resources for food-related initiatives
  • Continuous community partner dialogues for finding community-centered solutions
  • Enhanced discussions on expanding the breakfast program
  • Focused conversations on youth engagement and the development of youth-led programs
  • Assessments for better utilization or revamping of physical spaces at JHS
  • Feedback sharing from the summit to all participants and the broader community
  • Development of a template for a community-led school guide for the next Food Summit
  • Establishment of a Food Advisory Council
These initiatives underscore our commitment to not just maintaining, but significantly enriching the food programs that play a vital role in our children’s daily lives. The Rotary Club of Halifax Harbour is proud to be part of these ongoing efforts, believing strongly in community support and the collective impact we can achieve.
Let us all look forward to the continuous growth and success of our food programs, as we prepare for the second Food Summit, armed with the insights and recommendations from this enriching first session.