How school canteens can support a healthy, just, and sustainable European food system

On 12 March, three inspiring speakers showed how school canteens can change and integrate sustainability criteria –in urban, rural and semi-urban areas. 

An NGO coalition we are part of, the Buy Better Food coalition, organised a session showing public food procurement’s power in fostering healthy, just, and sustainable European food systems at the Open Food Conference. hosted by the Belgian Presidency to. 

We heard from 3 amazing speakers, telling us about their journeys to transform school canteens:  

  • Vincent Demaison from the Dordogne region, in the South-West of France told us about a local programme ensuring 100% organic food in schools. It re-connects children to the food they eat, thanks to a circular approach and a rich network of local farmers engaging with them; 
  • Orsolya Diófási-Kovács from the city of Budapest in Hungary told us about the city’s work identifying levers to integrate sustainability in their schools’ food procurement and presented us the key points; 
  • Finally, Tamara Bruning from the Belgian city Ghent presented its ambitious strategy implementing their innovative buyer platform, allowing small-scale farmers to access the city’s public procurement.  

Peter Defranceschi of the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) linked these real-life experiences to the Buy Better Food coalition’s Manifesto for establishing minimum standards for school canteens.  

As European organic movement we are part of the coalition because sourcing organically is a way in which institutions can advance their sustainability and promote the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture and food practices.  

For more information on this issue, have a look at: 

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We invite our members to translate the infographics we have created. The source materials for this are available on our member extranet > hot topics > Sustainable Food Systems > Sustainable Public Procurement. For information about what you can gain from being a member, read our membership page and contact [email protected]

The work of IFOAM Organics Europe on this topic is co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Union, under the Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). This page only reflects the views of the authors and its sole responsibility lies with IFOAM Organics Europe. The CINEA is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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