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© FAO/Karen Minasyan

The Municipality of Valencia is implementing an initiative to promote sustainable school meals. Municipal legislation set specific tendering criteria for school caterers, requesting that the menus of the eight municipality-run schools and nurseries be made of local, fresh, sustainably produced and environmentally friendly products. This effort was coordinated between the Educational Centres Section of the Department of Education, the Municipal Food Council (CALM) and the Centre for Rural Studies and International Agriculture. The new specifications require school menus to be fresh, seasonal and 50 percent organic (100 percent for oranges and tangerines). More specifically, citrus fruits, olive oil and rice must be locally sourced and produced; fish is to be served one to three times a week; and the consumption of pre-cooked products is limited (maximum three times a month). In the evaluation of the tendering criteria, quality is considered the most important, while the price has become less important (a reduction from 49 percent to 10 percent of the score). School caterers purchase foods from the city’s wholesale market, which includes an organic food hub (ECOTIRA) liaising between the local organic farmers’ network and the school canteens.

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