The pork, beef, chicken, cheese, yogurt and eggs that will be served in the 32 public school canteens in Osona from the 2023-2024 academic year will be local. A proximity understood within the limits of the region itself or of Lluçanès. This is one of the premises that incorporates the tender for the new canteen service of the Osona County Council, which now becomes an obligation.
"The region's agri-food sector provides excellent products that we want to also form part of our students' menus," says the president of the Regional Council, Joan Carles Rodríguez. The contract at stake is for the next three years and will have a budget of just over 13 million euros.
Dishes such as cloth pilotillas, carving or casserole noodles will return to the children's menus of Osona schools. The idea is to recover avocados in danger of extinction from the culinary, gastronomic and agri-food heritage of the territory with the aim that it is not lost. The president of the Regional Council, Joan Carles Rodríguez, has explained that the menus will also include examples of the culinary heritage of other countries, cultures and traditions.
"Also so that the students of the region know proposals such as couscous, which is eaten mainly in Morocco", the place of origin of many of the students. "We try to make healthy menus, in accordance with the guidelines of the Department and organizations such as the WHO, but which are also culinary related to our tradition," adds Rodríguez.
The president of the Consell explained that before taking the step of opening the contest where quality prevails over price, a study was carried out to see if it was viable. And it was resolved yes. “A preliminary study has been carried out to find out if there really is a margin”, Joan Carles Rodríguez pointed out.
Apart from the products that must be from the territory, the conditions of the new contract also contemplate that other foods such as fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice, legumes or bread be prioritized from Catalan or local varieties and ecological.
In addition, all schools without their own kitchen will receive the same daily menu prepared in an on-site kitchen of a concession school. In this way, they will work through a solidarity system to guarantee the same service for both large schools and small schools.
Rodríguez explained that they maintain their commitment to the educational project started with the current concession. In this sense, it is decided to maintain the improvement of the monitoring ratios with respect to what is established by the Department and guarantee the attention of the schoolchildren according to the needs presented by the educational centers. “If the ratio of students to professionals is lower, that allows for more personalized attention”, points out Joan Carles Rodríguez.
In this sense, from 7 to Tria, the current concessionaire, one of its pedagogical coordinators defends the model that they have already implemented since the last contest with actions aimed at facilitating the autonomy or decision-making of the students. “We try to work so that the children are the ones who serve the food that they decide. The quantity is chosen by them”. In this way they address issues such as food waste, but it is also easier for them to hold them responsible for finishing the dishes that have been served.
For his part, the director of the Institut Escolar Carles Capdevila d'Hostalets de Balenyà, Èric Vila, has made a very positive assessment of this model. As a pilot test, this year the Institut Escola is already following the 'Mengem d'aquí' project, a program with features similar to those included in the new contract of the Regional Council, and which works "very well" for them.
It is a model of a model with which they feel very comfortable where they are committed to "proximity, organic and high-quality food". According to the director, the dining space in recent years is being valued more and more and is being extended as another space where schoolchildren are educated. “We highly value the fact that the company that is providing the service has an educational project that is related to the center and that the space is of quality for the students, with moments of recreation and social interaction”, he points out.
Until now, the company in charge of managing the dining room service over the last decade has been 7 y Tria, from Sant Andreu de la Barca, which had won the last two competitions. In 2013 this company took over from the Vespella firm, which had managed the service for 16 years. Currently more than 3,000 meals are being served daily.