The school canteen: a healthy, sustainable and supportive space
Nine months a year, five days a week. This is the period in which young schoolchildren go to the school canteen. A place where they are supposed to recharge their batteries to continue their learning journey. But in too many primary schools and secondary schools the offer is worrying: sweets, sugary drinks, ultra-processed foods, industrial bakery products, etc.
At the Picanya Enric Valor Secondary School in València (Spain), the parents of the adolescents, the students themselves, the school committee and the teaching staff decided to intervene. That is why they created the S3 Canteen project, a healthy, sustainable and supportive version of the school canteen that has the support of the public, private and community sectors.
The institute: a breeding ground for drivers of change
We got in touch with Xiroi Pastor, a teacher who told us how the main pillar of the initiative is to make the students themselves the driving force behind this transformation. “The idea is that, based on guidelines, it is the girls and boys who decide how, what and when. They are the real protagonists of this project”.
In the project, the students were distributed according to their own abilities and interests in five working committees that work in synergy:
- The food supply committee analyses and proposes a range of healthy options that include people with intolerances and at the same time are attractive to adolescents. Among its offerings are popcorn inflated with hot air, seasoned with paprika and other seasonings; fruit skewers and healthy nacho trays.
- The local trade committee contacts local agricultural producers, analyses ecological packaging made from recycled paper and suggests good circular economy practices.
- The solidarity committee acts within the centre (through the allocation of scholarships) and outside it (by donating surplus food to avoid waste).
- The marketing committee is responsible for the signage, the dissemination in networks and the design of the logo of the healthy canteen.
- The economic committee evaluates the costs and benefits.
The project has not yet reached the implementation phase, but it is already having a major impact. What about you? Do you think the proposal can go beyond the limits of this institute?