The Healthy School Meals petition urges EU and national policy makers to guarantee sustainable school meals as part of the EU Farm to Fork strategy and in line with European Child Guarantee. Using the hashtag #SmallPlateBigImpact, it presents school food procurement as a relatively small action that can nonetheless help achieve a large number of global Sustainable Development Goals. More concretely, it calls for healthy meals for all school children, and making territorially-informed food education standard in curricula. School meals are a low-hanging fruit to promote sustainable and healthy practices in public food procurement.
We ask for:
# A healthy meal for all school children!
Not all children have breakfast before school. For many, food at school is the only warm meal of the day. But not all countries and schools serve food at school. We think that every child in every school should have access to a nutritious school meal.
# No junk food in schools!
According to WHO Europe, 1 out of 3 children in Europe is affected by child obesity. Reducing unhealthy food and drinks consumption at school will be a health-promoting measure that benefits young people, and reduces public health expenditure.
# Food education & cooking as a standard curriculum!
Why is food education and cooking not present in school education? Only the combination of good food and food education will ensure the uptake of healthier food habits. This is also an opportunity to educate children about food culture and traditions linked to their local food systems.
The momentum is NOW! 2023 will be a pivotal year for public food procurement and food in schools. Now is the time to ask the European Commission and all EU member states to ensure our children’s health and wellbeing, in line with the European Child Guarantee. Small Plate, Big Impact!
The petition is also available in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and a Czech translation of the text is available here.
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[Note: this Petition is not directly about offering ‘free’ meals in schools as is the case in the UK, Sweden, Finland or Estonia. The financing of healthy school meals and food education is up to national and sub-national decision-making in each country. This petition does however intend to raise awareness of the importance of school meals and the wide ranging positive impacts they can have.]