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Harvard case studies endorse plant-based solutions for schools

The Harvard-based Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) is featuring two ProVeg projects, focused on climate-friendly food choices in the school system, in its latest Planetary Health Case Studies anthology.

Planetary Health Case Studies: An Anthology of Solutions brings together findings and case studies from a diverse range of cross-sectoral concepts for improving human health in the face of climate change. Understanding the implications and applications of planetary health has never been more important than in the age of COVID-19. This anthology provides the foundation for communicating complex, interdisciplinary health science into approachable stories and solutions in hopes that it will inspire citizens, educators, funders, government agencies, NGOs, policymakers, researchers, and students alike. At ProVeg, we’re proud that important work, powered by our supporters, was recognized in this significant project.

 

Inside the anthology, two ProVeg projects, Climate-Efficient School Kitchens and Plant-Powered Pupils, are featured in a case study titled Today’s Solutions for the Future of Food. The case study asks how we can change our global food system to sustainably support the projected 10 billion people who will inhabit our planet by 2050. The Planetary Health Alliance first noticed both ProVeg projects for their case study and their importance back in 2018 when they were listed as recipients of the UN ‘Momentum for Change’ award.

 

‘Plant Powered Pupils’ is a hands-on campaign working to educate and empower children to make healthier food choices by making plant-based food options accessible and attractive. As part of the initiative, supported by the German health insurance provider BKK ProVita, ProVeg works to engage students in the classroom and offers cooking workshops for catering companies.

 

ProVeg project ‘Climate-Efficient School Kitchens’ (or KEEKS, the German acronym) partnered with a range of institutions to train kitchen staff, trainee chefs, and caterers to prepare sustainable, low-cost, healthy meals in public schools. With funding from the National Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the workshops included tips on using energy-efficient kitchen appliances and how to introduce more plant-based, low-carbon-footprint ingredients as alternatives to meat into the menus. 

 

As part of the case study, members of the ProVeg team and project partners were interviewed along with students, teachers and catering staff who participated in the projects, to explain the goals of the projects and how the theory was turned into practice. 

“Students across the United States will learn the positive effects of offering plant-based meals in schools because of these projects pioneered by our ProVeg supporters. We hope institutions will see our program as a success model to create further change in our food systems and empower the next generation to make healthy and sustainable choices. Our goal is to see similar projects all across the world on a larger scale.”

Alexa Gnauck, International Coordinator ProVeg School Program

Both projects’ goals are to increase the availability of healthy and climate-friendly food options in German schools, and their best-practices are now being internationalized in other ProVeg countries, such as Poland and the United Kingdom. 

The anthology of case studies is available now at https://planetaryhealthalliance.org/case-studies

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