IN ENGLISH

School lunch in Finland is provided to all students without direct cost to families (paid by tax payers). And it is mandatory part of the curriculum, at least in the elementary level i.e. students are not allowed to bring their own lunch nor leave school to eat lunch at home. Middle schoolers in some places are allowed to leave school area during lunch break and high-schoolers most often have open campus. But as it is free lunch paid by tax money, it has been under cost-cutting pressure. And sometimes at the expense of quality that appeals to students. However that issues is been acknowledged by authorities and 2008 Finland had first school nutrition recommendations.

The recommendations were updated 2017 to include more about the school lunch as a an food education event. The recommendations aim is to support executing the nutrition, food and well-being education that is part of Finnish national core curriculum.

Even they are recommendations, school lunch providers follow them voluntarily in order to provide a well-balanced meal required by Finnish school legislation. There has been lot of work pro school lunch to get it above the minimum recommendations. It all just had not been published above all the negative school food news. And that is where my blog gets it's mission.

The aim of Kouluruokatietopankki-blog ("School Lunch Data Bank") is to collect current news, stories and information about school lunch issues in Finland. I try to provide criticism, not censorship. Therefore the gaps are unintentional and most likely due to limits of one-person-newsroom capacity.

The purpose of Kouluruokatietopankki-blog is to be source for empowerment to anyone who is interested in school lunch issues in Finland and wishes to see, work for and influence the continuing improvement of school lunches. The blog tries to provide tools, examples and shared experiences as well results of studies regarding school lunch.

I wish to emphasize that I write Kouluruokatietopankki-blog as private person, on my free time and do not represent any organization nor official school lunch policy nor agendas in Finland. I have collected a lot of available official information into separate blog page "Finnish School Lunch, info + photos".

My texts can be somewhat translated via Google translator, often with hilarious results. And sometimes with very confusing interpretations. Please use your common sense and keep in mind that the writer is pro better school lunch that eventually works for better child nutrition and health.

If you are interested to know how I started to blog, please refer my guest writing in US school food activists Fed Up With Lunch blog.

I lobby for continuing improvement of school lunches so that as a Mother, I don't have to worry about my children's lunch for five days a week, 40 weeks a year, a number of years. And they could during those about 900 hours they spend at lunch without me, learn things that help them to navigate towards better health to themselves, neighbours and environment after I am not responsible for their nourishment.

Yours truly

-MAARIT-
aka Maarit Laurinen
Master in Food Science, majoring in Human Nutrition (University of Helsinki)
Worked in nutrition intervention study for children which targets to prevent cardiovascular disease starting from early childhood (STRIP-study)
Member of  The Association of Clinical and Public Health Nutritionists in Finland, RTY and
Finnish School Meal Network by ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture
Mother of two