Regional organic food in schools

In a nutshell

The aims of this tool are to make regional organic agriculture visible for young people and to introduce more regional organic food into menus. This is achieved by depicting the different food chains from production to consumption through videos, excursions or similar, and by serving seasonal dishes cooked from these food items. This work requires collaboration between producers, public procurement, and catering services, as well as teachers, and can be set up as a project or on a continuous basis. The tool strengthens regional value chains and promotes several EU policies related to food, such as climate protection, biodiversity, and the Farm to Fork Strategy.

Necessary Steps

Preparation

  • Set up an initiative or programme and develop a concept which gives guidance on how to get more regional organic food into school kitchens and information about it into school curricula.
  • Collaborate closely with the different relevant stakeholder groups (school caterers, teachers, farmers, procurers, etc.) to set up the programme.
  • Define rules for participation, e.g. suggest that only catering companies interested in integrating at least 5 regional organic products per month in their school menus can participate.
  • Send out invitations to all schools, catering services, and regional organic farmers to participate and promote the programme.

Building the food supply chain

  • Facilitate the communication process between menu planners, retailers, and producers; support the development of menu plans, and collect ideas for lessons.
  • Create a logo for the regional organic daily meal which can be used on school menus.
  • Create an online map of all participating producers, processors, caterers, and schools, and visualize the supply chains.
  • Advance joint cultivation plans between catering companies and producers.

Knowledge development

  • Develop, provide, and evaluate the teaching materials for schools, including:
    • educational modules for different food items, like the supply chain of dairy products or of apples;
    • short films and radio plays, e.g. on the product of the month (potatoes, butter, strawberries);
    • hands-on opportunities for pupils, like excursions to farmers or processors, tastings, schemes to grow their own vegetables, (online) games, etc.
  • Provide formats for home schooling.
  • Create a permanent range of information for pupils, teachers and parents.

More Issues To Consider

  • The early steps in this educational approach may call for plenty of effort and time, as new connections do not necessarily build up easily or quickly.
  • An increased communication with the farmers is important for a well-functioning collaboration.
  • The provision of sufficient organic vegetables has proved to be a challenge where this tool has been implemented, and the transition from using conventional to organic farms takes time.
  • Intermediary trade can make organic products more expensive, which could necessitate financial support from the government.
  • The inclusion of organic food as a procurement criterion when the catering service is commissioned is recommended [Tool].
  • Public relations and presence at political or education events are important to raise awareness and increase participation.
  • This tool can be used to help change the regional food system. [LINK to Berlin Food strategy]

Further Information

Disclaimer

The information on this page about the use of the tool “Regional organic food in schools” is only provided as a general guide and is not intended as a substitute for the user to check the respective public procurement regulations. We compiled the content to the best of our knowledge, but do not assume any liability for completeness and correctness. We do not assume any liability for the user to verify the applicable procurement law provisions in the respective national state.

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