In Poland, an estimated 17 percent of children are obese, according to a recent UNICEF study and over 50 percent of the entire population overweight. The country has made major strides toward combatting the problem, putting in place a country-wide ban on junk food in schools as of September 2015.
Detailed lists of banned foods were drawn up by the ministry of health, parents were consulted along with school administrators and those were not only not allowed on school premises for sale or consumption – they also weren’t allowed to be advertised to children on school campuses or near the vicinity.
A great beginning, to be sure.
But banning foods is only half the answer. Kids need healthy food to eat at school. The best way to ensure they have that is by making sure school kitchens are equipped to cook real, fresh food for kids every day. Unfortunately, most public schools in Poland struggle to afford the necessary equipment to prepare healthy meals, and are woefully ill-equipped.
For this reason, four times a year Polish NGO Szkoła na widelcu (School on the fork) Foundation hosts a giant picnic to help improve kids health by raising awareness and funds for school kitchens.
What the Foundation aims to do is raise enough money for school so that they can each afford essential kitchen equipment, like professional combi steamer ovens.
The events bring together Master Chef finalists, well known local chefs and bloggers, guests can buy (for £1-4) a tasting portion of meals from top chefs of well-known restaurants or products from small, local producers. The chefs and food producers donate their time and food to the event, to make sure all of the proceeds go toward helping schools.
Alongside great food, the Foundation’s staff, Master Chef finalists, Polish chefs and well known nutrition bloggers hold workshops, lectures, cooking demos, and a Zumba aerobics class for children and parents to learn about healthy eating and nutrition while having fun.
Created by Grzegorz Łapanowski, founder and CEO, the Foundation’s most recent and largest ever event took place in Warsaw on June 11th 2016. The event raised over £5,500 this summer which allowed the Foundation to help local schools to improve quality of food served in their cafeterias. And to engage the communities from a across Warsaw – some who came to the event because they’ve heard about it in advance; and others who were passing by, saw all the fun people were having and decided to join.
Our goal was to show how easy and fun eating unprocessed meals based on fresh and raw vegetables or fruits can be. Our aim is to keep reaching people with that message, through our programmes, events and work supporting schools and chefs. And we’ll keep doing so until all kids have the knowledge and access they need to eat healthy.