School lunch menus going green: new proposal seeks sustainability
It includes sourcing food locally and reducing consumption of animal products
In a string of efforts aiming to address what the Catalan government has described as a climate emergency, a plan created by the Barcelona city council and the public health agency of Barcelona seeks to reduce the amount of animal protein used in school lunch menus, in addition to other changes concerning greenhouse gas emissions and nutrition.
Local Public health agency manager Carme Borrell explained that after reviewing 116 menus at school centers last year, “34% of schools consume red or processed greasy meats two or more times a week.”
Public health agency studies show that students are not meeting the daily recommendation for consumption of 5 fruits and vegetables, with more than 80% of children and adolescents missing the benchmark.
This new menu aims to limit student consumption of animal products, including red and white meat, eggs, and fish to three days a week.
The animal products would also be restricted to be side dishes when served. The two remaining days, protein sources will be plant based.
In addition to these changes, the new menus aim to focus on sourcing food locally and seasonally, using olive oil in cooking, serving more salad and more fresh fruit being served daily.
Estimates within the reports for the new school menus estimate that these changes could result in a 23% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
These impacts are in line with the Barcelona local government's proclamation of a climate emergency in January, prompting political and social action in various sectors of public life.
This month alone, the enforcement of low emission zones and the proposal of eliminating a vastly popular flight route between Madrid and Barcelona have been some of the many bids by city government officials to continue Barcelona's efforts in becoming a more sustainable city.