Community development, Health

It’s on Our Plate and We Care

Connecting the whole school community together to define, build and further develop a truly healthy and sustainable school nutritional environment.


Who is behind this?

Renata Lukášová

Czech Gastronomic Institute

Czech Republic

Who is joining forces?

The National Institute of Public Health

Czech Republic

The Culinary Art (In Czech: Kulinářské umění)

Czech Republic

Slow Food Prague

Czech Republic


Idea pitch

How to build a healthy environment for the whole school community, while respecting the boundaries of our planet? Almost everyone agrees that healthy school nutritional environment is important, but we differ in ideas about its characteristics. We (canteen workers, teachers, children, parents or local politicians) have often contradictory expectations from the system and are not used to work together. Our project want to change that - on a road from local discussions to the whole system reform.

Where will your project idea take place?

Czech republic - Mixed location

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Many people are unsatisfied by the current school canteen system. The perceived reasons behind this supposed flaws are ranging from unwillingness and low working moral of school canteen workers, to wrong and outdated legislature or insufficient financial support from the side of the state or parents. The whole school community, full of mutual biases and prejudices, is connected with one common opinion: we do not have the power to change the system, to improve our environment to become more sustainable, inclusive and health supportive. This is especially true for the key part of the system: canteen workers, most of them are women with low socioeconomic status and many of them are from ethnic minorities. We want to help them to be heard and to raise the status of their position.

Who are you doing it for?

We focus our work on the key but overlooked part of the system: school canteen workers. Their important work has a low social status, is underpaid and liacking opportunities for professional development. Canteen workers, while being crucial factor in the quality of the system has to bear all the critics from outside while not getting the opportunity to be heard.
By series of workshops focusing on building their professional confidence as well as by teaching them about available tools for (political) action and by connecting them more with the rest of the school community through collective activities we hope to raise the awareness about the importance of their work and school canteen system and to prepare the basis for bigger reform.

How do you plan to get there?

1st year of the project:
recruit 15 school communities across Czechia for intensive work and search for cases of good practice already in place
Focus groups: we will organise online “focus groups” for every part of community to discuss their opinions about current school canteen systems and struggles they are dealing with. We will place special emphasis on discussion about perceived obstacles for improvement. At least 8 focus groups, involving canteen staff, parents, teachers, school management, local politicians and diners (pupils, seniors)
Draft of the guideline and kit for “project day”: both prepared based on the discussions during focus groups
Co-creational workshops: The prepared drafts will be discussed and tested during workshops with community members to get feedback from their perspectives. At least 8 co-creational workshops.
Community event: Meeting together. Connection the different members of school community for social events held in school canteens, to help to shift the perception of canteens as open community centres. At least 1 event.
During 2nd year:
Co-creational workshops: Final testing and feedback on kit and guideline after implementation of feedback. As least 4.
Finalisation and publication of the materials
Community events: We plan to run at least 10 community events
Project days: testing the project day kit in at least 5 school communities

What are the expected results?

Guideline on school nutritional environment: summarising information necessary to take an action. It will contain basic data on importance of healthy environment, its description and necessary equipment, as well as specific ideas on concrete action every community member can take, including encouragement of local lobbying
Project day kit: Educational kit containing a set of activities and materials to be used in classes, taught by teachers together with canteen workers, with possible involvement of parents. The aim is to bring members closer and strengthen their relationship.

15 communities will be directly part of the change implementing actions. We can distribute the outcomes to up to 20% of school communities in Czechia to accelerate the reform of the system on national level.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We bring the opportunity to connect non-cooperative members of school community and strengthen their relationship by collective work on common goal: improvement of healthy nutritional environment. Thanks to the events organised, the members will get a chance to share their expectations and ideas and to discuss the options for improvement with local governance.
The community will know that they are part of the first step in change of the system on national level, that they are getting the opportunity to be heard, to share their preferences and needs and that those will be implemented in the reform. They will co-create tools offered to other communities. All of that can support the confidence of all members, the feeling of empowerment and possibility to participate on positive changes.

Why is this idea important to you?

We connect experts from public health, nutrition and gastronomy with a passion for healthy (and tasty) approach to nutrition in our country. We believe that every child deserves the right to grow in environment which supports its development and healthy habits as those are the basis of future quality of life. We believe that school canteens should be open not only during lunch time, but should serve as community centres, places to connect, enjoy and educate, for all members of the community.
All of us have strong background in nutritional and gastronomical education, experiences from abroad included. We connect experts used to work with school communities, including canteen workers. Experts dedicated to finally utilise the diverse experience in one big positive change.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Publication outcomes (guideline, kit, graphics, website, distribution etc): 6000
Evens/meetings organisation (community events, co-creational workshops - at least 23 events): 20 000 EUR
Travel expenses: 2500 EUR
PR/advertisement: 1000 EUR
Personnel cost (project management, PR/social media, experts work): 17 000 EUR
Other expenses (office cost etc): 3500
Total: 50 000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are looking for feedback on our ideas and for possible cooperators. We love to work in international environment and believe in the importance of sharing the experience. We are interested in ideas on improvement of school environment, community gardens and local and sustainable agriculture.


Eliška Selinger

Renata Lukasova

Alexandra Kostalova

Jiri Roith

Adam Elias

Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on May 11, 2021

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