Alliance for school meals enhancement in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

                                                              

Alliance for school meals enhancement in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

Comunitas
Solution proposed by: 
Paraty City Hall, Polo Gastronômico of Paraty, and Comunitas
In a Nutshell: 
The project reaches all the six thousands students of the municipality system. To fight low nutritional quality of the meals an action plan was established with the engagement of civil society. The initiative aims not only the low income health improvement as well as the learning level of the kids
Where and When: 
The project was implemented in all the 33 public municipal schools of Paraty in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The initial diagnosis started in 2014 second semester and the new menu and kitchen structure was implemented in July of 2015.
Challenges: 
During some visits to municipal schools, the Paraty First Lady Ana Bueno notice the lack of menu variety and fresh products, the overuse of industrial ingredients and low nutritional quality of the food, which leads low consume of meals by students. Some facts that contributed to this situation was the lack of training for the cookers, poor planning of supply chain and buying process , besides bad conditions of kitchen equipment and storage. Mss. Bueno, who is also a chef, used her expertise and network to start a call to action involving City Hall and Civil society
Innovation: 
. Paraty is a small city (with 40 thousands inhabitants) with a strong tourism vocation that leads to an important gastronomic culture. The great strenghen of the initiative is to bring closer two different realities throught chefs engagement and action. More than 30 chefs are volunteers and each one patronized a school, playing the following role: they periodically visit the schools, give orientations to the cookers for implementing best practices to appreciate local products and create the menus for five weeks. Other innovation is the partnership with the twenty local producers, changing the providind food, from industrial to a fresh food.
Concept: 
The main concept was to turn kids good nutrition into a crucial stage through the engagement of several stakeholders as kids, their families, school cookers, local producers, chefs and City Hall. To reach project goals was necessary to: - Foster a new approach: a systemic vision of the whole meal process, enhancing kids and society culture regarding food and environment. - Ensure learning, through balanced meals - Value the whole chain as local producers, fishermen and school cookers - Improve environmental awareness - Rescue feeding memories, preserve local culture and strengthen family ties To reach project long term sustainability was planned to: - Establish an educational Project through a law called “Programa Municipal Escola de Comer” - Foster future professional from the related fields to seek continue training - Advocacy in favor of the inclusion in the schools program a discipline called “Arte Culinária Brasileira” (Brazilian Cook as a Art) The initiative was supported by program Juntos pelo Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Together for Sustainable Development) a public-private partnership that aims to improve municipalities management in order to deliver better public services to the population, improving competitiveness of cities and quality of life to the citizens. The program is led by Comunitas, a Brazilian social organization,
Description: 
The first stage of the project was to conduct a diagnosis of the schools meals in municipal schools. Then it started a process of articulation with managers of the Department of Education, school principals, education professionals and nutritionists. Local producers were consulted to check out the products that could be offered by them. After diagnosis conclusion, the city partnered with 40 farmers in the region, which now provide cassava, banana silver, peach palm palm, cassava flour and milk drinks, among others. The cookers have undergone training course and received new uniforms. Storage and distribution processes of the food has improved. New equipment, such as stoves, refrigerators and a cold camera were acquired. It was also signed a partnership with 30 chefs from the region who become volunteers and sponsored the schools. They started to guide cookers to improve the food quality, and contribute to the definition of menus. Furthermore, the chefs implemented best practices, seeking to enhance the use of local ingredients. The menu now has the technical file of the preparation of the dishes, and there are versions printed in all schools in the network. The launch of the new menu was marked by a celebration party between cookers, servants, directors, coordinators and supporters of the project, reinforcing the commitment of everyone involved. Thus, the food harvested from small farms in the rural area of the city began to be prepared for more than six thousand students of municipal schools. Finally, in 2015, the first edition of Jornal de Comer newspaper, was produced by students of municipal highlighting a theme of the gastronomic universe. Five thousand copies were distributed at the 7th edition of Folia Gastronomica (Gastronomic Party), cuisine festival held annually in Paraty.
Impacts: 
All the 33 municipal schools had their meals transformed. A five week menu, without repetition, was implemented to guarantee the variety of vegetables, fruits, protein and carbohydrates. The daily student consume growth was considerable: one of the units tripled the number of dishes served. In the first semester of project implementation, 80% of the school cookers are already using the uniforms and are following the new daily menu. It was distributed brand new equipment in all schools as refrigerators, freezers, ovens and other kitchen appliances. It was also bought a trucker with cold chamber and the distribution center was also equipped with cold camera

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Credit: City Hall of Paraty
Credit: City Hall of Paraty
Credit: City Hall of Paraty