School Food World had a bit of stumbling start last year, but we’re re-launching with the hopes of doing a better job of living up to our aims of reporting, promoting, and celebrating best practice in schools catering around the world.
So with our first post of 2013 and marking our relaunch we have the honour of announcing that the inaugural International School Meals Day will take place on March 8th this year.
Many in the catering and school meals industry will be familiar with School Meals Week. In the UK and the US School Meals Week celebrates the many different aspects and benefits of school meals for children in those respective countries. In the UK, the last School Meals Week was an even greater success than previous years with more schools than ever taking part. It also saw the release of this report on the views of parents and the nutritional standards, particularly in respect of Academies being excused from adhering to the standards.
It was hoped originally to link School Meal Week in the UK with the one in the U.S. but differing term times and holiday periods has made that difficult. So instead people on both sides of the pond have set about establishing an International School Meals Day which will hope to highlight and celebrate the importance of school meals all around the world.
The inaugural day and the concept paper behind it is the result of an evolving UK and US relationship centred on practice and policy about promoting healthy eating in schools. For two years caterers and other interested parties on both sides of the Atlantic have been sharing examples through workshops, conferences and study visits to improve best practice in both countries. They also share similar challenges
The aim of International School Meals Day (#ISMD2013) is to focus and publicise the efforts, expertise and successes of both groups, but also allow other caterers around the world to participate and share their own.
The aims of the Day are:
- To highlight the value of nutrition in school meals around the world and to encourage those involved with school food service to improve the quality and standards of school food.
- To emphasise the connection between healthy eating and better learning, and to promote the integration of nutrition education into schools’ curricula.
- To connect children around the world via different media platforms and encourage healthy eating habits and promote wellbeing in schools as a valuable way of life to pass on to future generations.
- To share school meal programme success stories from across the globe so that others may learn and replicate best practice.
- To promote and support research activities in school meals programmes to demonstrate their impact on child wellbeing.
- To raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues worldwide and particularly in developing countries which are being addressed through school feeding programmes, and to highlight successes and those who need support.
Of course individual countries and organisations will have different ideas for how they wish to celebrate International School Meals Day but the organisers have some ideas on how people can join in and support the aims of the day. For instance:
- Twinning of schools via international education links
- Have an international menu day
- Hold fundraising activities to support school feeding programmes in developing countries
- Add food and global citizenship to the curriculum that day
- Run cooking activities with an international theme
- Go mad on social media to highlight innovation in your school
- Publish your research to coincide with the day
- Promote your efforts to the media
What other suggestions do you have for celebrating International School Meals Day? Will you get involved?
School Food World aims to support and publicise the first International School Meals Day, so if you plan on getting involved and you’d like to share your activities do contact us via Twitter @SchoolFoodWorld, on Facebook, or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.