Who We Are

  • We are Canada’s leading foundation, solely dedicated to enhancing food and media literacy to children.

  • We partner with reputable organizations who undertake research and who implement programming. 

  • Connectors; encouraging knowledge transfer and providing opportunities for stakeholders to work together. 

  • Established in 1992, we are a small philanthropic private foundation, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Purpose

Helping Children to be Healthier, Now and in the Future

 

Our Partners achieve this through:

  • Offering food and media literacy knowledge.

  • Promoting a healthy and enjoyable relationship with foods.

  • Connecting with children at school, after school, and at home.

  • Undertaking research and sharing results.

  • Hands on and virtual programming.

What is Food Literacy?

  • Knowing about food and nutrition

  • Having food skills

  • Feeling confident when choosing, preparing and eating food

  • Making healthier food decisions most of the time

  • Understanding how the food system, food environment, living situations and culture and traditions impact food decisions; and

  • Recognizing that each of these components are interconnected.

To find out more go to www.foodliteracy.ca

Why is Food Literacy Important?

  • Too many children in Canada have poor eating habits and behaviors such as not eating enough vegetables and fruit, while eating too many processed foods high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat.

  • Poor dietary habits can lead to poor nutritional status, unhealthy growth and development, and mental health issues. 

  • Unhealthy eating habits and behaviors established in childhood may increase risk of non-communicable chronic diseases occurring later in life including cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Aside from making people sick, this stresses our healthcare system and reduces Canada’s future productivity. 

  • Food Literacy is a central strategy in Health Canada’s new dietary guidelines and healthy eating recommendations to promote the health of our children. 

So What?

  • Unfortunately, the most affordable and accessible foods for children today are often energy dense and nutrient poor, ultra-processed foods and beverages.

  • Over 60%  of items sold in a typical supermarket have nutrient levels in excess of one or more of the daily recommended amounts of saturated fats, sugar, or salt. Fast food chains and convenience stores proliferate and are part of our food culture and food environment.

  • Food literate children and their families are capable of making healthy food choices that can last a lifetime. Food literacy gives them the knowledge, capacity and confidence to make informed decisions and to forge a positive relationship with food, resulting in a healthier minds and bodies.

Who Cares?

Everyone should care! Parents, caregivers, educators, health professionals, policy makers, community and opinion leaders all play an important and persuasive role.

Stakeholders

Our primary area of focus is young children, their parents and caregivers. Studies indicate that with successful intervention there is an 85% chance of sustaining a healthy eating practice for life. How do we do this? By creating a central, single source of truth for food literacy research, data and dissemination. By encouraging our policy makers to re engage in preventative health literacy measures. By developing programs and tools, by encouraging holistic hands-on learning opportunities, in a positive and fun manner. By keeping things simple. 

Key Messages From Our Community

  • Rule- bound negative framing of nutrition must give way.

  • Healthy eating practices should be joyful, celebratory and fun. 

  • Improve the food environment, make the healthy choice the easiest choice.

  • People don’t necessarily need more nutrition information. They often need cooking skills and an understanding of food culture.

  • Take a holistic approach, inspire children in their areas of interest.

  • Introduce children to variety of foods at a young age.

  • Food choices and practices have an impact on our environment.

  • Encourage educators to bring nutrition into their curriculum as a teaching tool.

  • Hands on food literacy, cooking and eating as a family, often changes behaviours most effectively.

Our Values

Stakeholders are attracted to the Foundation for its ability to:
 

  • Facilitate and collaborate

  • Access projects viability

  • Work effectively and efficiently

  • Provide knowledge and multi-year funding

  • Adhere to good governance practices

  • Engage, seek input and feedback from communities served.

Business Arenas

The Helderleigh Foundation is:

 

  • In the business of advancing food literacy knowledge, and a better understanding of media literacy and food marketing. The issues of food security, sustainability, and environmental protection lie outside of the Foundation's Mission. 

  • Located in Toronto, primarily working with partners in Ontario having national impact.

Board of Directors   

Llewellyn Smith

Chairman 

Susan Smith

Vice-President

Kostas Andrikopoulos

Independent Director

Cara Rosenbloom

Independent Director

Russell de Souza

Independent Director

Why did you want to become a board member?

"After spending a lifetime in the packaged goods food business and owning a farm operation, I came to realize that the foods we produce and the manner in which they are marketed and consumed has a big impact on our individual health. However, healthy eating is more than an individual choice. It is also influenced by the environments in which we live.

As a society we have not paid enough attention. Poor nutrition has become the leading cause of poor health, surpassing tobacco as the number one health risk. There is an urgent need for preventive action, and the starting point is with our children. Through the work of our Foundation, we bring professionals together, turning research findings into action, and then advocating for change. We help make the healthy choice the easiest choice for children and their families. Contributing our small part is very satisfying."

Llewellyn Smith

Vince Morrison

Past Board Member, Program Officer

Staff

The Foundation operates through volunteers and contract services.

© Copyright 2017 The Helderleigh Foundation

Charity Registration Business Number 85628 5531 RT0001