So we’re still over 8 months away from our adventure but I’m already getting a little taste of what appears to be the Spanish government’s lack of common sense and bureaucracy.
You see, I’m in contact with an elementary school in Granada named Gómez Moreno. I targeted this school in particular not just for its academics, but for its food service. Yes, it has an awesome cafeteria unlike any other I’ve seen in public schools.
They prepare and serve all locally sourced, organic meals from their onsite kitchen. They also mix in food and health education over the lunch hour. I’ve chatted with several ex-pats that have had kids attend this school and one of the first things they mention is how wonderful the cafeteria is.
The problem is this. The Andalusian Government wants to shut down the school’s kitchen to bring it in line with its policy of for-profit commercial caterers who have long-standing contracts to serve frozen foods trucked in from far away.
I don’t mean to pick on the Spanish government as I could easily see something like this also happening in the States. We already have seen how schools will make iffy decisions related to allowing really unhealthy stuff be served in our cafeterias in exchange for financial subsidies. Despite being in direct opposition to the health of our students.
Gómez Moreno Kitchen – Quick Facts
- The organic kitchen has been in continuous operation for over 10 years
- It is a non-profit operation run by the equivalent of the school’s PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) called AMPA (Associación de Madres, Padres y Amigos).
- The entire operation is financially self-sufficient
- It has won numerous awards through the years for its quality, service, and commitment to food education
- It feeds 164 students every day and employs 7 workers
How can you help?
Please sign this petition if you are so inclined.
I have no idea if this is going to have a big enough impact to reverse the decision but it can’t hurt. The more international attention this receives, the more likely the government will back down and let the school keep its kitchen.
Here is an article about the fight in the national newspaper El Mundo (in Spanish). I’m also including the abridged English version of the petition:
“Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Regional Government of Andalusia: We demand continued management of the Gómez Moreno school organic foods dining hall.
Since 2002, the Parent’s Association (AMPA) at Granada, Spain’s Gómez Moreno school directly manages the organic foods dining hall service serving almost the entire school population. This participatory project provides seven dignified jobs and promotes sustainability among local providers of organic products at the same cost as other food service providers—in fact, at less overall expense when considered in relation to additional budget criteria.
Despite our organic school dining hall’s prize-winning trajectory and having demonstrated technical and economic solvency, its future is endangered because the regional Ministry of Education is threatening to terminate our dining hall management permit by requiring us to become a (for-profit) business and compete against large, profit-oriented catering companies.“
Thank you for your consideration.