The Public Procurement Summit “Making School Food Better” was organised by UNED and took place in Edinburgh, UK, alongside the 2nd Interim project meeting of Strength2Food, October 18-20, 2017. The summit brought together around 50 delegates from all parts of the school food system, ranging from procurement officers, catering managers, wholesalers and producers, to educators, researchers and support groups. The Summit tackled the following questions:
- How do we get more SMEs and local suppliers into the school food system?
- How do we increase the local economic multiplier of school food budgets?
- How do we reduce the carbon footprint of school food supply chains?
- How can school food systems work harder to improve the well-being of kids and communities?
Results from a Strength2Food public procurement pilot case study set the scene by highlighting the key environmental, economic, social and nutritional outcomes of school meals provision from County Durham, UK. Subsequent panel discussions shed light on the realities for SMEs of getting into school food supply and the measurement of environmental and local economic impacts of school food chains. Delegates from Scotland, England and across the EU shared experiences regarding the summit’s key questions and identified solutions. The formulation of an action plan to take these ideas forward will be available soon.
Within the 2nd Interim Meeting of Strength2Food project partners discussed progress regarding on-going activities and the direction of work. In particular, the following tasks were reviewed: i. countries’ case studies for school meal procurement strategies and methodologies for impact assessment analysis (WP6); ii. consumer analysis: preliminary results from the 1st quantitative survey, theoretical approach and intentions for the 2nd quantitative survey (WP8.1); iii. progress on qualitative consumer research and ethnographic fieldwork across countries (WP8.2); iv. fieldwork progress and methodological challenges on FQS (WP5) and SFSC (WP7); v. updates on communication and dissemination (WP2); vi. executive board meeting and EC technical review planning (UNEW, WP Leaders and KMREC). Two workshop trainings were also delivered: NVivo workshop (for qualitative analysis in WP7.1 and WP8.2) by Elena Chatzopoulou (Newcastle University) and Interdisciplinary Training on Action Research (ethical considerations and challenges for WP9) by Richard Simmons (EUTA & Stirling University). A farm-to-table tour at Whitmuir Organic Farm was also organised for project partners by UNED (https://www.whitmuir.scot/).