Food Sustainability in International School Canteens
We Little Reporters are on a mission to understand the concept of food sustainability in our respective school kitchen canteens.
Sustainable food is safe and healthy for consumers. It is produced without any ecological damage to the planet, in a socially and economically responsible way.
Roman Pugacev and Saanvi Parija interviewed Anne-Marie:
Anne-Marie is the head of culinary school in European School Copenhagen (ESCPH). She is an organized chef when it comes to planning food service each week. She focuses greatly at variety. ESCPH canteen offers three days of vegetarian food, one day is reserved for fish and one for meat.
Every two weeks students get Danish rye bread with a blend of hot and cold dishes along with soups and salads. All food offered at ESCPH is 90-100% fresh and organic as per the municipality regulations.
Locally produced food
Anne-Marie tries not to over-indulge when buying groceries and works with-in her budget. Anne Marie describes the importance of locally produced ingredients where vegetables and fruits are grown without chemicals using only wind, sun and water energies. She lays emphasis on sustainable handling of food which means using everything with minimum wastage.
Anne Marie and her team are currently working on reducing food wastage. “We face a lot of food wastage when the food is not to everyone’s liking”.
She explained that food that has been on the table needs to be thrown out for hygienic reasons but the food that never left the kitchen is used in multiple ways.
Try out new things
Anna spoke to Iben Katz from International School of Hellerup (ISH):
Iben thinks that sustainability is high priority for her because “we are going to leave the earth to our children.” She wants to do her very best to make small steps towards protecting our planet.
Iben emphasizes the use of locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables. They are not only nutritious but also abundantly available. She is conscious about how her choices impact the environment and wants to spread more awareness. She prefers to buy food in bulk and tries out various cooking methods to use her groceries. Iben loves to challenge her cooking skills where she tries to cook not just delicious food but food that is appealing to the eyes.
“I am happy to encourage young eaters to try out new things and appreciate all that nature has to offer.” When asked about food wastage; Iben totally disagreed on throwing the food. She tries to offer the waste food to the animals on the near-by farm.
Bella met up with Rune, sous-chef from Copenhagen International School in Nordhavn (CIS):
Rune and the kitchen staff in CIS are mindful about their use of food and are constantly trying to reduce waste. When it comes to planning menu, Rune said “we believe in planning ahead, we plan for 3 weeks together”.
CIS is proud to follow the concept of “Meatless Monday”, one day fish, one day meat, which is either beef or pork. We always try to create variety so that “we are not eating chicken everyday”.
Rune and his team ensure that they are not buying in bulk but they try to use various groceries for different recipes while being mindful about the quantity. Buying locally available produce is a sustainable way to reduce our carbon footprints. Rune feels that understanding food consumption (among staff and students) is the key to reduce wastage. This helps him to plan and cook appropriate food quantities so that not much is left as left overs. Packing left over food into take away boxes is another way to reuse the food that is safe for consumption.
We all can contribute
Little Reporters are conscious about the well-being of our planet and have grown in our understanding about sustainability. It has been a great learning experience for us. We would like to follow some of the above mentioned ideas in our daily lives to help our environment. Putting all the information together, we realized that all schools are trying to have a sustainable approach with food, to buy locally produced groceries, reducing waste and reusing. It has to be a constant approach to improve the sustainability of school kitchens. It’s high time we join hands and contribute to the well-being of our planet in our small way.