Country of implementation


Type of the practice

School workshops and summer institutes

Initiator of the practice

City of Vancouver, Vancouver School District

Type of education

Primary and Secondary

Age of participants


How many participants max can participate

No discernible max limit

Education form


Short description

The project enabled students, teachers, and policy makers to influence how their food is produced and where it comes from. The project intended to influence 4 key areas. In order to support comprehensive school health, we took a system’s approach to school food, focusing in on the following key areas:
  1. Food production at school (i.e. food gardens, composting and environmentally sound and productive disposal of end products);
  2. Food consumption, preparation and procurement at school (i.e. school food programs, cooking skills, and eating spaces, farm‐to‐school programs for fresh local food);
  3. Creating and disseminating learning innovations which aim to integrate learning about the whole cycle of food systems, from production, processing, transportation, distribution, consumption, and disposal of end food products (i.e. composting and recycling vs. “waste”) and impacts of health and environment;
  4. Researching and developing policy and programs to support more healthy and sustainable food systems at school.
The project supported many concrete school projects, which involved collaborative learning amongst a multitude of players, from: university students and researchers, health and educational institutions, to a network of community‐based and community‐supported non‐profit organizations working on food, health, and the environment. Connections and networking were key to our systems approach, as we sought to link: farms to schools, city dwellers with farmers, school cooks with successful green chefs, restaurateurs, restaurant designers, gardeners, school authorities, teachers and students. ThinkEatGreen@School was a dynamic project that brought healthy and sustainable school food systems thinking to the learning communities of the Vancouver School Board.


This was a multiyear project that affected the entire Vancouver School District. Therefore its impact is proportionally more significant than a single school project or a singular activity across many. An attractive point of ThinkEatGreen@School was how their actions were driven by the pedagogical philosophy of Learning with Life. In practice, our actions were guided by the philosophy of Learning with Life. The four learning steps they have articulated as integral to the process of Learning with Life are: 1) Memories – Sharing personal and community experiences of school food systems. 2) Reality (as “it is”) – the school food system as “it is”, and as it’s depicted in scholarly literature. 3) Dreams (“Reality as it could be”)– our vision of an ideal healthy, sustainable school food system? 4) Action (“Potential reality”) – identification of the shared visions, or the common points in our collective dream. How do we use these leverage points to create the world we want to live in? Our work developing healthy food and experiential learning opportunities sought to touch each of these steps in a circular, evolving way – learning with life through an ever-evolving process of inquiry. In terms of replicability, this project had many smaller actions that it would be wiser to examine one by one for their replicability merits. Furthermore, replicating the summer institutes would be feasible but requires significant external expertise and financial support.

Challenges in implementation

This is a project with a series of actions that would require strong financial, administrative and legal support by a big and impactful Municipality like the one of the City of Vancouver. We would suggest that trying to replicate the project as a whole would be more successful with the presence of a similarly powerful governmental body. However, some specific actions that were undertaken by specific schools through the small grants actions that was part of the project could be more easily replicated on a case by case scenario.