Students taking red grapes and cheese from plates on counter at school canteen

Students taking fruit at the school canteen. Photo: Westend 61 / Getty Images .

SchoolFood4Change (SF4C) aims at engaging schools as catalysts for a food system transformation toward diets that are delicious and healthy for both humans and the planet.

The SF4C project includes 43 partners who contribute to the ambitious target of reaching at least two million EU citizens by directly impacting over 3000 schools and 600 000 young people in 12 European countries.

To achieve the ambitious goal of enabling community-wide food system change, SF4C follows a holistic multi-level approach based on the cumulated expertise of established European organizations and networks, sustainable food procurement and nutrition specialists, scientists, chefs and dietitians.

This involves

  • the development of innovative and sustainable food procurement
  • the promotion of planetary health diets and cooking
  • and the introduction of the so-called “whole school food approach”, a defined framework for municipalities and schools targeting the achievement of child-friendly food culture and involving all related actors linked to the school environment.

Project activities

  1. Methodology for defining sustainable and healthy school meals and assessing its health and environmental impact will be developed.
  2. Theoretical findings will be translated into specific criteria for sustainable (public) food procurement and into a collection of concrete school menus to prove that locally adapted school meals can be healthy, sustainable and, at the same time, cost-effective. Guidance material on the procurement of sustainable and healthy school meals will be developed: from initial procurement criteria to innovative approaches to concrete measures and solutions for developing a sustainable and healthy food culture in municipalities and schools.
  3. Development of innovative and sustainable food procurement, the promotion of Planetary Health Diets and cooking, and the introduction of the so-called “Whole School Food Approach”, a defined framework for municipalities and schools targeting the achievement of child-friendly food culture and involving all related actors linked to the school environment. A European framework for an innovative “whole school food approach” will be developed and implemented. The “whole school food approach” means a defined framework for municipalities and schools targeting the achievement of child-friendly food culture and involving all related actors linked to the school environment. School food should not only be considered as a catering service, but also be treated holistically, including food quality, integration into the school curriculum and involvement of students, teachers and parents. At the heart of this work is providing sustainable and healthy school meals as part of a whole school-based approach. Around it, various innovative solutions are being developed and tested in different cities and pilot schools.
  4. To improve the quality of school food and support new eating habits: to train and empower cooks and urban food enablers on planetary health cooking to put theory into practice. By establishing a dialogue and direct exchange between schools, students, and local farmers, SF4C aims to make the topic of sustainable and healthy food more tangible, particularly for young generations.

SEI Tallinn is Estonian lead partner and has a leading role in developing the definition of sustainable school meals, indicators and environmental impact methodologies, and in mapping the situation in partner countries. SEI Tallinn also coordinates the project activities in Estonia and supports the City of Tallinn and Viimsi Parish in their activities.

Project partners

The project involves 33 partners from 12 countries across Europe (local and regional authorities, research institutes and expert organizations).

Project lead partner

Partners in Estonia

Schoolfood4Change is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It started in January 2022 and will run for four years. The findings will be replicable within and beyond the EU.