Teachers, students, parents, school staff and convivia involved in Slow Food’s project for good, clean and fair canteens across Europe are springing into action this month to expand their networks and promote the valuable work being done in the project around the continent. The regional meetings to be held over the next few months will aim to target educators from other schools, academics, farmers, producers, cooks, government and youth from the wider community to become involved.
Slow Food’s involvement in the EU-funded European Schools for Healthy Food project was officially launched at the Terra Madre world meeting in October last year and currently engages 12 schools in ten countries across Europe – Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Northern Ireland and Spain – all working to improve various aspects of their canteen service: reviewing tenders, shortening the food chain to use fresher, seasonal local food, addressing waste management and promoting healthy food, as well as integrating food and taste education into their classrooms.
As part of the next stage of the project that kicks off this month, the regional meetings will now focus on diffusing knowledge across school communities about the project as well as the possibilities offered through other European Union initiatives such as the Fruit School Scheme and Milk Scheme, which provide tools to educate children to make healthier choices.
Meetings have already been held in three of the ten countries involved. In Northern Ireland, the network held various conferences and workshops, including a look at case studies of other schools in the project. In Bulgaria, the meeting focused on the general state of school food, and provided information on the local project, as well as on European support of the project. The conference emphasized the necessity of providing food and taste education alongside any change to better food. The third meeting, in Romania, presented the various case studies from across Europe and held discussions about possible legislative solutions to help students access healthy food, along with the feasibility of supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to school canteens in the country. The meeting concluded with a reminder of the role that each individual can take in improving school canteens – whether educators, local authorities, suppliers, parents or students.
Regional meetings in the remaining countries will continue to be held until April 2011.
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