Sustainable school meals as catalysts for food system change

On 22-23 March, during the conference titled ‘Small Farm to Fork Procurement’ and held at the ICLEI Brussels office, IFOAM Organics Europe co-organised an afternoon session dedicated to the sustainability of school meals for the SchoolFood4Change project. Together with policy-makers, food procurers, food system experts and civil society organisations, best practices and minimum mandatory criteria for public food procurement, as well as the upcoming Sustainable Food Systems Law and its regulatory framework, were discussed.  

Picture: Dorina Meyer (ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability)

The conference started with the handover of the Sustainable Food Procurement Manifesto to MEP Karin Karlsbro, carried out by the endorsing local governments Torres Vedras (PT) and Rybnik (PL) on behalf of the BuyBetterFood campaign. Afterwards, the cities of Malmö and Umeå and the Swedish National Agency for Public Procurement showed their best practices for sustainability in school meals, focusing on organic products, fossil-free transport, reduced waste, animal welfare standards etc.  

The day ended with two interesting panel discussions, where, amongst others, the upcoming Sustainable Food Systems Law, the EU Child Guarantee and the EU School Scheme were discussed with policy officers from DG AGRI and DG Employment, local governments and NGOs. It was concluded that we need more policy integration, fundings, targets that challenge reality, more research (e.g. on the benefits of free school meals or food environments), clear minimum standards and high-level political commitment, to work towards healthy and sustainable school meals for all children in the EU.

The SchoolFood4Change project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036763.

I accept I do not accept