The EU School Scheme, which provides fruit, vegetables and milk to European schoolchildren, is set to be renewed for the 2019-20 school year.
The programme, which delivered healthy food options to more than 20 million children in 159,000 schools across Member States in the school year spanning 2017 and 2018, will receive a total of €250 million in funding between autumn 2019 and summer 2020: €145 million to pay for fruit and vegetables; and €105 million for milk. In addition to providing pupils at EU schools with healthy eating choices, the EU School Scheme aims to educate children on healthy living and the agricultural provenance of their food.
Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Thanks to the EU School Scheme, our young citizens can benefit from the nutritious, safe and high quality food that our European farmers produce, while also learning about where it comes from. The Commission is proud to contribute to this important educational journey, establishing healthy habits from a young age.”
In the 2017-18 school year the EU School Scheme was allocated just over €182 million from the EU budget to deliver a total of 255,500 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables and 178 million litres of milk to participating schools. Delivery between Member States is determined based on a combination of national population and, in the case of milk distribution, the levels of uptake of the scheme in previous years. National authorities may transfer up to 25 per cent of the budget allocated to them between sectors; and Member States which do not make full use of their own allocation may transfer the remainder to other countries whose need is greater.
Member States have the further option of topping up their funding from the EU with national funds in order to expand the scheme; and to determine the themes of the agricultural education received by children and which healthy products they receive. The types of fruit and vegetables provided in schools may be determined by locality, seasonability, availability, health and environmental concerns, among other factors.