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CPMA Corner - Made in Canada: Freggie™ Chef for a Day

How do you get kids into healthy eating? Start them young and get them involved! That’s exactly what the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is going for with our new Freggie™ Chef for a Day program. We know that the development of proper food skills is an essential foundation for healthy eating and that the best way to learn is with hands-on experience. So what better way than to put the kids in the driver’s seat?

"I was so excited to get up today because we were going to cook, and I feel so grown up wearing my chef clothes and making healthy food."

– Student, Victory School

Jamie Moracci, President, Pure FlavorJamie Moracci, President, Pure Flavor
“The Freggie Chef for a Day program is a great tool to get kids of all ages engaged with food. Whether it be greenhouse-grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or bananas, blueberries, and kiwis, as long as it contributes to healthy, active living, we should be encouraging kids to be trying everything they can. As the chef of the plate they are creating, they should mix and match every color and flavor they can!”

WHAT IS THE PROGRAM ALL ABOUT?

This made-in-Canada solution is all about engagement and hands-on learning, with a simple program concept that is easy to run and affordable for teachers. The day starts with a lesson about healthy eating (following the Half Your Plate philosophy), and teachers show kids how to make an easy, healthy lunch from start to finish. They then get to eat their creations, all while learning about how to make the healthiest choices to fuel their growing bodies. The healthy eating programming comes together easily with the use of our pre-developed Half Your Plate commodity sheets for the most consumed fruits and veggies in Canada. The sheets include tips on how to select, store, and prepare while including an easy and fun recipe. We also provide lesson plans for grades one through six to ensure that kids of all ages can get into healthy eating.

Oleen Smethurst, Assistant Vice President/General Merchandise Manager Buying & Operations - Produce, Costco Wholesale CanadaOleen Smethurst, Assistant Vice President/General Merchandise Manager Buying & Operations - Produce, Costco Wholesale Canada
“CPMA’s Freggie program is such a unique and valuable asset to our industry. I think any program that gets children involved with healthy food and teaches them how to prepare/cook is a complete and absolute win! As an industry, we are trying to ensure that future generations are healthy and this program gets children interested and wanting to learn more about produce from a young age. Hopefully this will result in their eating healthy as they continue into adulthood.”

"They really enjoyed peeling, chopping, and shredding the vegetables. It gave them a sense of pride and independence in knowing that they can prepare their own food."

– Teacher, Ecole Provencher

HOW DOES CPMA HELP TEACHERS?

Participating teachers are provided with a blueprint package for the event and are encouraged to enlist the help of local chefs, dietitians, or keen parents. Each event focuses on health, food safety, and great taste with the intention of including students at every step. CPMA gives each teacher a gift card to purchase food and supplies as needed. The blueprints include a series of recipes that are super easy to prepare and require no cooking so that teachers can host the events in their own classrooms without needing cafeteria assistance. We also provide fun Freggie-themed items like stickers, posters, chef hats, and educational materials. Teachers get dedicated support along the way from CPMA staff and can contact us at anytime with their questions or concerns.

Joe Spano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mucci FarmsJoe Spano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mucci Farms
“Mucci Farms is a proud supporter of the Freggie program. We have been sponsors of the Freggie Children’s program at the CPMA Convention and Trade Show for years now and have seen its impact first-hand. There is a need for greater awareness for the healthy lifestyles of our young children and programs like the Freggie and Half Your Plate do a great job with promoting and educating on health and wellness, while also getting more veggies on their plates.”

WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THE PROGRAM?

CPMA By The NumbersBy providing these experiences across Canada, we’re raising awareness at the community level as to the benefits of teaching children to cook and sending them to school with more nutritious lunches. We know that informed kids bring that information back home to their parents who, in turn, select healthier meals. As we all know, getting the little ones to eat their veggies is more than half the battle, but when they feel a sense of ownership and independence when it comes to preparing food then they’re more likely to not only eat their veggies, but even request them. Combined with some great efforts by our members to introduce produce packaging and concepts dedicated to children, we’re confident that our initiatives will get kids in the kitchen eating more fruits and veggies at every meal and snack.

We’re excited to present this program again in May 2018, and this time we’re looking for some sponsors to help us spread the message to even more schools! Interested in learning more? Shoot us an email at freggie@cpma.ca.

Stay tuned for our next article in May where we’ll be featuring some of the innovative offerings from our members. From easy snacks to handy packaging and cool graphics, our members are doing an amazing job encouraging kids to eat more fruits and veggies!