Early insights from the LOMA-Nymarkskolen case study
Growing concern about issues surrounding climate change and the environment has led to a recent focus on local food strategies and a change in consumer buying behaviour towards food in the European Union (EU). Accordingly, there has been an increasing demand for foods from local and regional sources as well as from sustainable production regimes. Although this trend seems to be driven primarily by household consumption, public food procurement has also begun to adopt this idea and has taken on a new and more critical view on its sourcing strategies. Such food strategies seem to offer benefits for local farmers and food processors. At the same time, they may also offer opportunities to develop new educational and health-promoting links between the actors of public food systems, such as young people in schools, and farmers. This contribution to “quality of life” is often referred to as social innovation. This is primarily because it improves social capital by bringing together new actors to address important societal challenges. Achieving sustainable school food systems is considered a challenge, and research-based knowledge is in demand in relation to multi-component interventions. This perspective article reports on early insights from a pilot case within the local food project LOMA-Nymarkskolen in Svendborg (DK). The findings of this project are used to evaluate whether local food strategies are an effective method of social innovation. The pilot case is a whole school, workshop and curriculum-based intervention in which 6th-grade students participate in cooking their own school food for one week using products from local farms. Data from the pilot case indicate that local food strategies help establish new educational links between schools and local producers and thereby contribute to students' food literacy, health and quality of life in a way that qualifies to the notion of social innovation.
Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica. Section B. Soil and Plant Science, 2013, Vol 63, Issue Supplement 1, p. 56-65