Like many other countries, a reform of school meals policies has been implemented in Portugal, wherein nutritional and health criteria are considered in the design of the…
Like many other countries, a reform of school meals policies has been implemented in Portugal, wherein nutritional and health criteria are considered in the design of the public plate. Given that a large literature on school meals focus on cities seen as sites for promising transformation regarding health, resilience and sustainability, it is pertinent to examine how these policies are being received in rural areas. Similar to other vulnerable regions in southern Europe, rural areas in Portugal have been affected by depopulation, the re-localisation of public services (e.g. schools, health centres and courts of justice) to larger conurbations, a drastic reduction of farming areas and its reconversion from sites of production to sites of consumption that thrive on tourism. While research on children’s attitudes, experiences and practices in rural areas had picked up the attention of social scientists, research on children’s relations and engagements with school meals in these areas does not abound. This chapter addresses three issues: first, how the catering staff and health professionals experience children’s engagements with school meals after the policy reform; second, how the discourses of the school staff and parents around the rural and gastro-idylls contrast with the reported food practices and experiences of everyday life, and third, how the multiple engagements of children with animals, plants and other nature conflict with or are juxtaposed to the images of the rural idyll. Drawing from focus groups material with children aged between 7 and 9 years old living in the rural hinterland of an inland medium-size city in Portugal, focus groups with parents and interviews with stakeholders (e.g. school and kitchen staff, local authorities, nutritionists and catering firms) the chapter aims at contributing to a broader understanding of children lived experiences with food consumption in rural contexts.
In recent years, Portugal has witnessed the siting of 250 wind farms, particularly in mountainous and rural areas. Even though, unlike other European countries, general…
In recent years, Portugal has witnessed the siting of 250 wind farms, particularly in mountainous and rural areas. Even though, unlike other European countries, general public consensus seemed at first to prevail, protests by local population and ENGOs have been increasing of late (many broadcast by the media) – the outcomes of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) provide a good example. This chapter has two main objectives. On one hand, it examines how rural landscapes are discursively framed in the press when the Portuguese media picks up wind energy issues. On the other hand, by analysing EIA reports, it aims at identifying the social actors involved in the decision process of the siting of wind farms in rural or peri-urban areas, the arguments for and against the location of these facilities and how the (rural) landscape is framed and represented. The empirical material is drawn on three different sources: media analysis of the public discourse on landscape issues related to wind farms; an analysis of EIA reports regarding wind farms in Portugal and an analysis of official positions on this issue assessed through the Environmental Impact Declarations (EID) of EIA processes. It is concluded that despite the lack of media attention to landscape impacts’ of wind farms, the existing discursive frames are often attached to dichotomized cultural meanings: it either deems wind farms as technological tools for landscape progressive transformation or as a risk to its pristine image. As to the EIA reports, landscape matters are more visible and important and at times sufficient to reject approval or change of the siting of a wind farm.
Concerns on children's obesity and overweight have been related to food diets with excessive sugar and fat. Given the relevance of school meals in Portuguese children's…
Concerns on children's obesity and overweight have been related to food diets with excessive sugar and fat. Given the relevance of school meals in Portuguese children's lives, schools follow governmental guidelines in order to provide nutritiously balanced and healthy meals. As imbalances persist, this study aims at understanding the acceptance of school meals by children, in the context of competing marketing allures of nutritiously poor foods outside the schools.
Plural qualitative research techniques (focus groups with children and parents, direct observation and interviews with school directors and kitchen staff) were combined to analyse children's food-related meanings and practices, and also images of food displayed at schools and in their surroundings. The empirical data were collected in four primary and secondary public schools with different socio-economic backgrounds in the area of Lisbon.
Results show sharp contrasts between food images and meanings at school canteens and commercial food outlets outside schools. Data suggest that subjection to supervision, unappetizing school meals and images in the canteens stand out against favourite flavours and social levers (such as autonomy and status) of food available outside school.
This study has an exploratory nature and results are not-generalizable to other schools of the country.
Limited attention has been paid to competing social contexts of children's food consumption at schools and their surroundings in Portugal. Research results can bring insights to conceptual development on school meals and children's food practices.