September 28 marks World School Milk Day as designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
September 28 marks World School Milk Day as designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This global celebration is in its 17th year and will be celebrated across the world including in the US, Malaysia, and Canada.
To celebrate World School Milk Day, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) would like to highlight the contribution that school milk programs have made to the health of Canadian children across the country. “In 2016, it is still relevant to offer milk in schools so that children have the energy they need to learn,” said Wally Smith, President of DFC. “Dairy farmers know how important student nutrition is to parents and teachers.”
The first school milk program in Canada was implemented in 1974 in Nova Scotia. Other provinces soon followed suit so students in every community would have the energy to concentrate and perform their best. In Ontario, for example, the Elementary School Milk Program (ESMP) is celebrating 30 years this year. Milk is an integral part of children’s nutrition and school milk programs are part of a long tradition of feeding children and combating malnutrition. During the Great Depression, Montreal schools distributed free milk purchased from local farmers to children suffering from malnourishment, making milk produced locally essential to students’ nutrition. The link between good nutrition and learning is well-known; cow’s milk contains 16 essential nutrients that contribute to normal growth and development.
A little carton of milk may seem like a minor thing, but its benefits go far. There are approximately 200 days in the school year which means there are 200 lunches, or in other words, 200 opportunities for children to make healthy food choices. By providing a nutritious beverage throughout the school year, school milk programs teach students to put the lessons they’ve learned into practice. There are nearly 1 million students in Ontario alone participating in the ESMP and in Quebec, more than 15 million cartons of milk were distributed in schools in 2014. On an international level, the International Dairy Federation reported that more than 139 million children from 52 countries benefit from milk distributed in schools. Think about the dramatic difference this program makes in the health of students across Canada and worldwide when they choose milk over sweetened beverages!
The story of the dairy industry is one of community. It is a story about fostering the importance of daily routines and healthy habits to ensure a bright future. Dairy farmers are proud to build a better future for Canada by contributing to the health of tomorrow’s leaders.
About Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s farmers living on over 10,950 dairy farms. DFC strives to create stable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry, today and in the future. It works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy farmers and promote dairy products and their health benefits.
Dairy Farmers of Canada