Innovative Strategies for Public Catering: the Expansion of the Sustainable Public Meal Toolkit

Practical Testing of the Tool “My Sustainable School Meal” by City of Warsaw, Poland

25 September 2023
Implementation of the tool was conducted by workshops for two groups: school kids and school kitchen professionals from six public primary schools in Warsaw. Aim of the workshops was to help kids introducing sustainable meals to their school menus.
Technical details



How was the tool implemented in Warsaw?

Practical testing was created around two meetings with school kids at age 12-13. On the first meeting, they were learning about sustainable meal rules (e.g., local, and seasonal products, ecological food, more plant-based products, practices reducing food packages or food waste) and trying to modify their favorite school meals. The second meeting was in the culinary studio. They prepared the modified version of their favorite school meal and made it more sustainable. They also created a new more sustainable school meal. After culinary workshops, they could fill in a questionnaire about proposals for new school meals. They could vote for their new sustainable school meal, or at least propose some changes. Most of dishes were evaluated positively.

Changes in school canteens towards a more sustainable direction requires education of not only school kids, but also people that are responsible for organizing and preparing school meals – caterers and kitchen professionals. For this reason, two workshops for thirty kitchen professionals were organized. The first one was more theoretical. Attendants were educated about requirements, that public meals should meet to be more sustainable. After theory, they were trying to modify some of the typical school meals. The second workshop was practical. A professional cooking trainer was hired to learn, how to prepare attractive and tasty sustainable dishes or modify some of typical polish school meals (ex. by adding lentils to minced meat). Workshops for school meals providers were part of the cyclic meetings.

School kitchen professionals could also learn techniques of introducing new, more sustainable proposals to school menus. They were encouraged to test new meals at school canteens. They got questionnaires as a tool to gather information about new proposals from pupils. Typical questions in the questionnaire were ex: Do you want this dish as a new school meal? What could be different in that dish? Can you propose some new, fancy name for this dish to encourage the others to try it?

Who do you think would benefit the most from this tool?

“My sustainable tool meal” as a tool can educate and encourage both: school kids and kitchen professionals to make some positive changes in the school menu. It is important not only to know sustainability rules, but also to have a strategy to introduce them in the school canteen.

More information about the practical testing of the tool:

Ewa Chojnowska, Project Coordinator at Warsaw Municipality