ACT Greens call for all school canteen menus to provide vegan options

Lachlan Roberts 2 September 2019 37

The Greens want all school canteens and ACT Government events to provide vegan options. File photo.

The ACT Greens are calling for all school canteens in the ACT to be required to provide vegan-friendly meals and other plant-based food on their menu, a move which the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations does not welcome.

Greens spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur will put forward a motion in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday (21 August) calling on the ACT Government to support more plant-based foods options at all schools, hospital and ACT Government events.

The motion calls on the Government to require all school canteens to provide plant-based food options for students, to ensure all students are able to prepare a plant-based meal as part of their curriculum and to support more fruit and veggie patches at schools.

The Greens’ motion does not only target the Education Directorate but also calls on all events catered by the Government to have plant-based food options in sufficient quantity, to make the default meal option at hospitals plant-based as well as ensuring plant-based main meals are offered at the ACT’s correctional facilities.

Ms Le Couteur said more Australians are consuming plant-based foods than ever before, pointing to research that estimates that 12 per cent of Australians are now eating all, or almost all, vegetarian food.

“It’s important that the Government keeps up with cultural change. Nowadays, vegan and vegetarian options, even ‘fake meats’, aren’t out of place on restaurant menus,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“We need to make sure that these options are available for people, and a ‘real option’ in places like hospitals, where a healthy diet can make all the difference to a person’s recovery.

“Plant-based foods will also better support a child’s health and development in the school environment.”

All ACT public schools are required to adhere to the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy which states that ‘green’ foods, including vegetables and legumes, should always be on the canteen menu.

The policy uses a traffic light system to identify healthy and unhealthy foods, in line with dietary guidelines, with all schools encouraged to increase green foods on their menu and decrease red and amber foods.

ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations believes the current policy already provides healthy menu options for students, stating that most canteens are already mindful of diversity, nutritional and environmental concerns.

Spokesperson Janelle Kennard said the council does welcome greater support for volunteer-led school canteens, more funding for school gardens and support to integrate gardens with the school’s food service but doesn’t believe further regulatory stipulations are necessary.

“Public school canteens provide excellent, healthy menu options and most would already have vegetarian options,” Ms Kennard said. “P&Cs make every effort to be inclusive, being mindful of various dietary requirements and preferences in their school communities.

“Even the traditional election day BBQ is these days being supplemented more and more with other interesting and healthy items and including options like vegetarian, halal, gluten-free and dairy-free.

“Canteens already work under a complex regulatory regime, including tight nutritional guidelines. I don’t think further regulatory stipulations are necessary nor would they be welcomed.”


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37 Responses to ACT Greens call for all school canteen menus to provide vegan options
Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 1:31 pm 23 Aug 19

You know, if you get angry over 'there should be more vegetables available in public spaces' then there is something wrong with you. No one is going to make you eat the nasty veg-veg if you don't want it, but the reality is that these places are not providing vegetable options, because meat has a higher profit margin. But you have to eat some vegetables and your kids have to eat some vegetables or you (and they) are going to die.

John Moulis John Moulis 3:09 am 23 Aug 19

The good news is that the proposal was voted down in the Assembly. Forcing veganism onto kids is just child abuse. In Sydney a couple narrowly avoided jail for almost killing their kid with a vegan diet. Let's promote healthy living and nutritional responsibility among kids, not silly, trendy and dangerous Instagram nonsense.

Ana Ana 5:01 pm 22 Aug 19
Ana Ana 5:00 pm 22 Aug 19

The idea is to provide a choice, not force people to eat any particlar thing. Of course kids don’t order salads, whoever said that here needs to get more creative with the menu and wake up to themselves I agree, vege patch at the school to the plate is a good idea. I learned to cook at school, veges are more nutritious as are lentils/beans etc and are much cheaper and quick to cook.

Jessica En Bee Jessica En Bee 2:40 am 22 Aug 19

Our canteen has a menu full of vegan and vegetarian options. It’s expensive having to stock ingredients that noone orders. For example in 3 years not one “salad bowl” was ordered.

    Jessicah Mullins Jessicah Mullins 7:45 am 22 Aug 19

    Jessica En Bee so don’t offer salad bowls. Instead, offer roast veggie wraps, sandwiches, felafel etc. Being vegan doesn’t mean you don’t want a hearty meal.

    Fran Gray Fran Gray 7:53 am 22 Aug 19

    Yes, but kids have to want to eat it for it to sell

    Jessica En Bee Jessica En Bee 8:14 am 22 Aug 19

    Fran or parents have to choose it in lunch orders. We had a range of options. Fresh ingredients were thrown out weekly as they weren’t ordered.

    Jessicah Mullins Jessicah Mullins 12:24 pm 22 Aug 19

    If children eat food like that at home, they will happily eat it at school. Canteens need to understand what food vegan kids eat, instead of assuming it's just lettuce and mung beans.

    Tom Porter Tom Porter 8:35 am 23 Aug 19

    Jessicah Mullins, I think the training that Canteen Managers have to have lets them understand what food kids eat. Regardless of their parents choices. If you whant your child to eat food that is not of the 5 food groups, choose appropriately on the canteen menu or pack a lunch box for them.

    Jessicah Mullins Jessicah Mullins 12:25 pm 23 Aug 19

    Tom Porter I'm pretty sure fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes are on the food pyramid.... :/

    Tom Porter Tom Porter 6:11 pm 23 Aug 19

    Yes they are. So is dairy and meat.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:49 pm 23 Aug 19

    Salad Bowl! Is that the only idea you have for vegetables? And I hopefully the main ingredient wasn't institutional iceberg lettuce. I LOVE salads, but didn't know this growing up because I was only ever given salads with iceberg lettuce with no dressing. When I discovered salads made with mixed lettuce (and not a leaf of iceberg in sight) and found dressings existed, instantly salads became a favourite food. Still dislike iceberg lettuce, but unfortunately it's used too often in salad bowls.

maxblues maxblues 11:25 pm 21 Aug 19

Greens wanting kids to eat greens??

CA Slattery CA Slattery 6:30 pm 21 Aug 19

Typical ACT greens request!!

Being vegan is a choice and in some small number due to medical conditions but children should Not be forced to eat this way by their vegan parents. Talk about a form of child abuse!!!!!

    Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 7:56 pm 21 Aug 19

    Being an omnivore is a choice. Children should not be forced to eat this by way of their omnivore parents. Talk about a form of cold abuse!!!!!

Angus Bucknell Angus Bucknell 5:47 pm 21 Aug 19

Twisties are vegan aren’t they?

Stephen Finnegan Stephen Finnegan 5:00 pm 21 Aug 19

Steak. More steak.

Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 4:40 pm 21 Aug 19

Such lefty twallop. How about a balance and healthier options.

Steve Wood Steve Wood 1:56 pm 21 Aug 19

Why dont the greens provide the schools with the resources for schools to grow their own..

gooterz gooterz 1:55 pm 21 Aug 19

Allergies and proteins are choices. Someone is born Vegan.

Ben M Ben M 11:33 am 21 Aug 19

Canteens should focus on providing nutritionally dense, unprocessed, real foods like fresh meat, eggs, cheese, raw milk, nuts, vegetables and fruit.

Ray Ez Ray Ez 11:15 am 21 Aug 19

Solving the first world problems, one non problem at a time, thanks greens.

Karen Joy Stone Nowak Karen Joy Stone Nowak 10:51 am 21 Aug 19

Most canteens already do have vegan options. There's salad sandwiches and/or wraps, vegetable fried rice, vegetable stir frys, noodles, hash browns, etc etc.There's more on the menus than just meat pies and sausage rolls!!! :)

Shane Phoenix Shane Phoenix 10:32 am 21 Aug 19

Umm.. ensure all students are able to prepare a plant-based meal as part of their curriculum. I though school was supposed to prepare for the future and prepare for workforce.

Don't know math, but can sure whip up a mean tofu fry up.

    Zac Norman Zac Norman 11:08 am 21 Aug 19

    Shane Guest ... You know you can be a chef for a living right?

    Shane Phoenix Shane Phoenix 11:44 am 21 Aug 19

    Yea but if a kid wants to be a chef they go to culinary school. What they would teach at school would hardly compare. But you do have a point, it's a valid life skill. Gotta eat to live.

    And not the worst thing they could introduce, just add it to home economics as another additional dish choice they can choose.

    Tom Porter Tom Porter 8:39 am 23 Aug 19

    If a kid wants to be a chef, they go to Tafe, where they learn to prepare all varieties of food. This also includes gluten free which is probably more important than plant based diets

George Lemon George Lemon 10:12 am 21 Aug 19

More social engineering

Jared Gill Jared Gill 10:02 am 21 Aug 19

Adam, you love a good plant based meal!

Grimm Grimm 9:07 am 21 Aug 19

These people and their food cult need to go away. The tiny fraction of people participating doesn’t justify forcing schools to waste money on food that doesn’t get sold. People with these self imposed dietary requirements can provide their own meals.

TuggLife TuggLife 9:04 am 21 Aug 19

I know this is just for public schools, but to be honest, I’d be happy if our kids’ (Catholic) school just dumped the soft drink, chicken nuggets and lollies. I can’t imagine the conniptions the P&C would have over having to provide some actual fresh food.

    Grimm Grimm 10:31 am 22 Aug 19

    So, do some parenting and don’t buy your kids that stuff if you don’t want them eating it?

    This really isn’t hard. It’s also not the schools responsibility.

    TuggLife TuggLife 7:49 am 25 Aug 19

    Er, I don’t go to school alongside my child and go to the canteen with them? They take money and make their own purchase?

    I just don’t send any money any more. I can guide and encourage and insist all I like, but it’s still a 5 year old making the final choice. And when the canteen manager is telling her “you’ve got 20c left, how about a couple of lollies,” there isn’t much I can do from afar.

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