Children on a bicycle

NSF Discusses the Best Practices for Midday Meals During the International School Meals Coalition Week

14 October 2022

The Nourishing Schools Foundation (NSF) was invited to share best practices during the International School Meals Coalition Week, which is being held on October 11-14, 2022. The online event is a series of virtual roundtables led by partners and members worldwide and managed by the School Meals Coalition Secretariat. This week, celebrating the Coalition’s first year, has been organized to enhance coordination and collaboration between the important entities working in the nutrition space. Organizations are sharing their best practices, knowledge, experiences, learnings and inputs to showcase the power of school meals and chart the future of the Coalition.

The Coalition was launched at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September 2021 under the leadership of Finland and France and with the support of dozens of additional countries from all geographies. It includes more than 70 countries, such as the United States of America, Japan & Germany and 70 partners (including UN agencies, NGOs, think tanks and academic partners).

Each day had a different theme, and on the third day, which focused on best practices, NSF hosted a session on the topic “Healthier School Meals: Farming, Fortification and School Gardens”. The session was moderated by Archana Sinha, CEO and Co-founder, Nourishing Schools Foundation and the panellists included Trishita Dalui, a Corporate Social Responsibility leader; Joshita Lamba Saini, Deputy Lead, Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) at the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and Deep Jyoti Sonu Brahma, Co-founder, Farm2Food Foundation.

The panellists discussed themes such as the benefits and challenges of the inclusion of fortified foods in school meals, how agriculture is linked to food fortification and how school gardens run by children can supplement school meals and become a tool for nutrition education.

Archana Sinha, CEO and Co-founder, Nourishing Schools Foundation and moderator of the session, said, “In alignment with the school nutrition garden guidelines issued by The Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India, we have encouraged children to set up and manage school gardens to supplement school meals for several years. It has been an effective strategy. During the session, we shared data-based insights about children’s dietary practices to show the need for and the benefits of the school meals that the Government of India provides. We are glad to support the Government of India’s efforts to create a healthier India.”

The School Meals Coalition said in a statement, “The School Meals Coalition secretariat welcomed the session and was pleased to have the important work led by the Nourishing Schools Foundation in India related to school meals be part of the inaugural School Meals Coalition Week.”

The panellists shared several insights on creating healthier school meals such as that collaboration between and within sectors is critical for tackling malnutrition among schoolchildren and that school meals help children reach their full potential by encouraging attendance and providing nutrition. Another insight was that it’s essential to connect the provision of school meals with efforts to promote nutrition education among schoolchildren. This helps improve the supply as well as the demand for nutritious foods.

The session is listed on the School Meals Coalition website here: