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Using local family farm products for school feeding programmes: effect on school menus

Panmela Soares (Public Health Research Group, Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain)
Suellen Secchi Martinelli (Nutrition in Foodservice Research Centre, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil)
Leonardo Melgarejo (Associação Gaúcha de Proteção ao Ambiente Natural (AGAPAN), Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Suzi Barletto Cavalli (Nutrition Department and Nutrition Post-Graduate Program, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil)
Mari Carmen Davó-Blanes (Department of Community Nursing, Preventive Medicine and Public Health and History of Science, Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the effect of the use of food products from family farms on school menus of the school feeding program (SFP) of a municipality in Southern Brazil.


A qualitative content analysis was carried out of 16 key informant interviews involved in the SFP, or in agriculture production related to SFP planning, development and supply. The resulting categories were used to construct a quantitative analysis protocol for school menus for three years both prior to and after (n=130 days) procurement of the SFP with food from family farms. The studied variables were the presence (yes/no) of vegetables, fruits, legumes and concentrated foods. Monthly frequency and contrast of proportions were calculated for each variable during the years studied.


The interviewees recognized that the proximity between food production and the school increased the variety of fresh, natural and organic foods in school menus. The direct supply of the SFP with foods from local family farms resulted in a significant increase (p<0.05) in the frequency of vegetables, fruits and legumes in school menus as well as a progressive reduction in concentrated foods.


The design of food and agriculture policy increases the availability of healthy foods in school menus and has beneficial results for promoting healthy meals in schools.



The authors wish to thank José Fernández Sáez, Phd, for his contribution in the quantitative analysis as well as Diana Gil-González, PhD and Carmen Vives, PhD, for reading and commenting on the manuscript. The author also wish to thank all the key informants interviewed, whose contribution has been essential for the study. The authors are also grateful to CAPES foundation within the Ministry of Education in Brazil who granted a Master and a full doctoral scholarship abroad to Panmela Soares. Part of the data came from Panmela Soares’ Master’s thesis called “Análise do Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos na alimentação escolar em um município de Santa Catarina” (Analysis of the school Food Acquisition Program in a municipality of Santa Catarina) supervised by the Graduate Program in Nutrition of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil), 2011. The article is a product of her education process by the Doctorate Program in Health Sciences of the University of Alicante and will be used as part of the material presented in her thesis in a collection of articles.


Soares, P., Martinelli, S.S., Melgarejo, L., Cavalli, S.B. and Davó-Blanes, M.C. (2017), "Using local family farm products for school feeding programmes: effect on school menus", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 6, pp. 1289-1300.



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