Vegan meals to be served in Roman schools

Plant-based diets have steadily been becoming more popular in Italy, which may come as no surprise since the Mediterranean diet is typically rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats.

Schools in Rome are catching on to the trend, as well as the demand from parents to offer healthy meals during school hours, and, as of September 2017, will be launching a new initiative to offer vegan, vegetarian, organic and "zero kilometre" (locally sourced) meals in their canteens.

The proposal is the brain-child of the Five Star Movement and aims to increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in children, while reducing the consumption of processed foods and meat.

The chairman of the Environment Commission, Daniel Diaco, said: " is necessary that the food supply in schools is sustainable, biological and ethical. As a result of the many requests received, we want to ensure a food supply that is able to provide all the nutrients needed for children and, at the same time, a tool for education and training of young students (the adults of tomorrow) so that they are aware that our consumption has a significant impact on the entire planet."

The goal, he explained, “is to feed children the healthiest foods and give the message that Rome is environmentally friendly and closer to nature, because we all know that the products of animal origin have a very strong impact on the environment and on air pollution due to intensive farming."

As well as vegan and vegetarian options, the schools will offer locally sourced products to minimise the damaging effects of transporting food long distances and the initiative is also looking into reducing packaging, where possible.

The question is now whether other city's in Italy will follow their capital's lead...

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