Schools to Offer Locally-Grown Food to Students

By 3 September 2017

Agriculture Minister wants children to eat local fruits and vegetables.

In the new school year which begins tomorrow, 1,119 Croatian schools will participate in the School Nutrition Scheme – a programme of free meals of fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products for schoolchildren. Local farmers will have the advantage in delivering fruit and vegetables for the programme, announced the Agriculture Ministry on Sunday, reports on September 3, 2017.

A total of 23 million kunas have been provided for the initiative so that Croatian primary and secondary school students would have an additional meal of fresh fruit and vegetables. To finance the implementation of the scheme, the European Commission has granted Croatia 1.7 million euros for fruit and vegetables, and 800,000 euros for milk and dairy products.

The target group for fruits and vegetables are students of all grades of primary and secondary schools, while milk and dairy products will be offered to students in grades one to four of primary schools.

“The new School Nutrition Scheme will give preference to local farmers because we want our children to eat fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables and dairy products, thus protecting jobs in agriculture and developing Croatian rural areas. In addition to adopting healthy eating habits, they will also develop the habit of eating locally-grown food and will have the opportunity to visit family farms from which these products will come,” said Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić.

Once they feel the difference between fresh fruit and the one which spent thousands of miles in refrigerators, they will learn to appreciate the difference in quality between local, locally-grown vegetables and those from more distant regions, Tolušić added.

Each school wishing to participate in the School Nutrition Scheme will choose its suppliers to deliver fruits and vegetables, milk, yoghurt and other products. Fruits and vegetables will be delivered and distributed at least once a week throughout the school year.

The Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that the public call to participate in the School Nutrition Scheme was opened until 30 June. Before the deadline, 1,119 schools and 87 suppliers have responded to the call.

Over four years of implementation of the School Fruit Scheme, which was a predecessor of the new initiative, over 4,000 tons of fruit were delivered, for which a total of 50 million kunas were paid to suppliers.

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