Europe in My Region

I have been thinking long and hard about which project to choose for this competition and what interests me. If I was to write about something that I don’t find interesting, I would be a bit bored. But then I arrived at the idea of connecting similar projects and to see whether connecting such similar projects with the same goal would result in savings and maybe more people would cooperate and exchange opinions and experiences.

This is a repost of “Budućnost nacije ovisi o načinu na koji se hrani“, originally published in Croatian by freelance science journalist Maria Bolevich (@1989_mariab, LinkedIn), and translated into English by the European Commission as part of the Europe in My Region 2016 blogging competition.

But…as things go having an idea is one thing and seeing it come to fruition is another because some people I contacted have not answered my e-mails.
How is that possible?
You get the money, finish your project, and then…several months and some years later you don’t answer questions about the project. That kind of behaviour is not justifiable because I believe that finishing your job does not mean that you should forget you had used EU funds, be it HRK 10 or HRK 1 000 000. It should be important to know what the project brought to the citizens of Croatia, maybe new jobs, maybe a tonne or two more of fruit or a neighbour that had gained a qualification in agriculture and whose brains you can pick.
However, I am not that easily discouraged so I continued to search for something that I am interested in and that I need.
Thanks to the people who did not answer to my e-mail, I encountered those that were eager to help and that tried hard to answer the question and that is why I have to thank them because I learned something new from them and, of course, I got some new ideas.
The main question I kept asking myself was: “What is important for Croatia?” Hmmm…the answers kept changing each minute; is it poverty, waste, water resources, environment, energy, education, healthcare, the economy? I remembered that “the young shall inherit the earth” and so I decided to include what I already knew with what I may perhaps learn.

So, this post can officially begin…

Do you like fruit? And how about vegetables? Did you eat it in sufficient amounts when you were younger, and how about now? Is your excuse “the fast pace of life” when you forget that daily portion of fruits or vegetables or is your excuse the fact that you could not find what you want or what you would like to eat at a given moment?
Do you “force” your children to eat vegetables they do not love, while you as a parent think differently?
You guessed it, the main topic of this post is the School Fruit Scheme that will be “spiced up” with other projects financed by the EU and which can be part of, i.e. included in the dietary habits of children, only if we think about it for a little while. No, this is not impossible.
Let us go back to July 2012 for a while when media covered the project “Marasca sour cherry as an ingredient of functional food” that ran from 20 October 2010 and it was ceremonially completed.
A year later (2013) the Marasca sour cherry was also awarded.

1. The purpose of the projects

-Production of two new products made from Marasca sour cherry using lyophilisation and drying through dispersion.

-Establishing a laboratory for identifying biological activities of functional products.

-Education of local manufacturers and broader community with the potential and possibilities of processing of Marasca sour cherry.

Expected result:

-Two functional products with a Marasca sour cherry base.

-Establishment of a laboratory for identifying functional characteristics of functional products based on biologically active compounds.

1. Source: http://www.ipa-marasca.com/en/about_project.php

Almost four years have passed from the completion of the project and I contacted the project manager Verica Dragović-Uzelac, Ph.D. because I was interested in why Marasca sour cherry was not included in the School Fruit Scheme, especially because it is known that it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. If children don’t like it, why not try and make them a healthy dessert, why don’t we use such a quality project for the scheme, for promoting our domestic products?

When I asked why nobody included Marasca sour cherry in the scheme or products made from the sour cherry and why bananas (import) and apples are included in some schools, the manager of this awarded project said:

V.D: Marasca sour cherry is a seasonal fruit and it grows during June and July (depending on climatic conditions) and it has to be processed relatively quickly into semi-processed products or finished products. One of the reasons why it is not included in the School Fruit Scheme could be the fact that Marasca sour cherry, when compared to apples and bananas, has a more sour taste which is not pleasant for most of kindergarten and school children. Even though there are high quality products made from Marasca sour cherry (e.g. amarena premium from “Maraska” factory) and which could also be offered in the form of beverages.

My comment: well done, give children a glass of quality, home-made drink and introduce a habit of not drinking fizzy drinks or what I saw several days ago; a primary school child buying an energy drink. I thought the seller wouldn’t sell it to child, au contraire – HRK 4.99 was spent on one energy drink and that money could have been used to buy 1 kg of apples that were on sale, not to mention the consequences of that drink on overall health.


I was interested in comparing the situation before and after the project, what has changed and what is the current situation?

V.D: The project was quite specific and it looked at using Marasca sour cherry fruits for producing lyophilised sour cherries and the powder from the Marasca sour cherry juice. During the project, the wider community and food industry were acquainted with the potential of Marasca sour cherry. The project ran for 18 months and products we developed during that time were done so to a certain phase and in order to place them on the market the technological procedure of e.g. powder from Marasca sour cherry juice needs to be improved for which interest from the food industry is necessary. In order to develop a new product, a lot of effort has to be invested, know-how and financial means are needed, which is usually a problem in the food processing sector.

During and after the project, lyophilised Marasca sour cherries were used for the production of chocolates, but in a smaller numbers.

The sour cherry should be pitched as a high quality raw material with the potential to be processed in a wide array of products, not just into juices, nectars and liqueurs (most commonly processed products). Moreover, the fact that it was awarded with a certificate of authenticity proves the quality of the fruit.

Besides the School Fruit Scheme there is also the School Milk Programme, but dairy products are already on offer in school canteens and while reading through primary school menus I noticed that sometimes a whole month may pass without eggs being on the menu. Wouldn’t it be interesting if children could order something that is also good for animal welfare, to consume something that is local and also healthy?


That is why I contacted the director of Lunet Ltd. Dražen Ćurilo.

A second project that is also not included in similar programmes or one that was maybe not used properly is Luneta Ltd. It is a family company whose goal was to build the most modern egg-laying hen farm in Croatia. The construction of the farm began in March 2012 and the works were finished as early as the end of October of the same year.
D.Ć: I really don’t know why school menus don’t include eggs, especially given their excellent nutritional value. This question should be put to developers of school menus – says the director in response to my question as to why eggs are not that much, or at all, available in school canteens.

(At the time of posting my this text the schools contacted had not responded to these questions: why do kitchen prices vary from month to month and why is it that a whole month can pass by where children are not given the choice of eggs on the menu.)

The next question regarded the current situation in the Republic of Croatia, in his opinion, and what are the biggest difficulties facing producers of fresh eggs?

D.Ć: The biggest problem are large quantities of imported eggs at dumping prices which are not enough to produce an egg (the situation is similar in other sectors as well). Last year we imported over 100 million eggs, mostly from Poland.

My comment: Why do we need to import eggs when we have a project such as this and their cooperation with the Animal welfare and protection association appeals to me in particular.

Projects I intended on comparing are those that deal with education and biotechnology, because if we want a developed agricultural sector we need educated people, we need technology.

Out of all the people contacted that managed similar projects only the project leader and assistant of “Young eco-agricultural entrepreneurs” responded, whose goal is to motivate young people into entrepreneurship in ecological agriculture.

It is worth mentioning that even after 4-5 years, manager Vlatka Švajda Bartaky and her assistant Željko Mavrović were up for cooperation. I really liked that.

In a phone call conversation with Željko Mavrović, I realised that mostly everybody has the same problem; it is really hard to be involved in organic production, if you want to do it right, and not just for marketing purposes. He was really open and realistic and told me that the problem lies in the infrastructure, especially in ecological stories and that participants were really keen to find a job in the areas they live in.

I am an environmental engineer and I know how hard it is to find a job with my degree, let alone how hard it must be to succeed in organic agricultural production.

Project manager Vlatka Švajda Bartaky answered several of my questions:

Do you have figures for how many young people, after completion of the project, successfully realised their business plans and whether some of them are participating in the School Fruit Scheme?

V.Š.B: Unfortunately, we don’t have any information as to whether someone managed in realising their business plan, but I can say with certainty that one user that during the project already had an organic farm, improved and developed it more. I hope training and seminars throughout the project helped him.

What did young people like the most during the project?

V.Š.B: Project users liked the fieldwork the most, which was held on the Mavrović organic farm and the Rosipal organic family farm. They received well-presented, interesting, professional and hands-on knowledge for their existing or future activities on their own farms.

If you could turn back time, would you do something differently when it comes to the mentioned project?
V.Š.B: The project team gave its maximum in project implementation, and by project team along with Organic centre pz I mean partners, associates and lecturers. We tried to make educational activities for the young not only professional, but dynamic, hands-on and interesting as well. I don’t think I would change anything, anyone who wanted could have learned a lot and applied that knowledge further down the line.

If project participants are reading my post they can feel free to contact me because I am also interested in where they are now and what they do.

We will now shift to the School Fruit Scheme. Of course, I had to read texts regarding the project first, and the sweetest part were anonymous comments below the text. There is mostly an oasis of distrust regarding the project, and conspiracy theories as well, claiming that the project is about “deliberate poisoning”.

When I go outside during meals, children, whose schools are not taking part in the project or that do not have a school canteen, mostly consume crisps, some sweets and fizzy drinks. Not once have I witnessed them buying fruit, the only fruity thing was a fruit yoghurt.

That is why my interest grew even bigger after I got the necessary answers from the fast Višnja Šimunović (Advisory service) who gave me the motivation to keep going:

How many times a week do children get a portion of fruit and who is in charge of keeping records on whether children wash their hands?

V.Š: Children are provided, under the National “School Fruit and Scheme” strategy, with fruits and vegetables at least once a week. Responsibility for children washing their hands, as well as the overall responsibility for fruit/vegetable distribution, lies with the teachers of the schools where fruits/vegetables are distributed.
On the question why children of one primary school have only bananas and apples on their menu, my respondent said: “I presume that children mostly get apples and bananas from the school canteen because these are fruits that are available in sufficient quantities during the whole school year.
Is enough effort put into scientific education?
V.Š: I can say that all partners that participate in project implementation, and especially the Agricultural advisory service, as the coordinator of communication within the project from the beginning of implementation in Croatia, by way of a special annual programme is providing continuing education for school children for the third year in a row. In those three years a total of 1 500 different lectures were held (the list of subjects offered can be found on the Advisory service website, www.savjetodavna.hr, link: School Fruit Scheme) across the Republic of Croatia, and an analysis showed that children found the following lectures of most interest: Fruits, vegetables and health, why fruit trees can also be ill.

What is the most common question you get regarding the School Fruits Scheme and what are the biggest challenges facing the HR when it comes to child nutrition?
V.Š: The most common question is related to the list of acceptable produce that are distributed to children throughout the school year. You have already highlighted that children most often get apples and bananas from the school canteen, the case with the School Fruit Scheme is that they most often get apples and mandarins. Why is this so? For the simple reason that this fruit is mostly available throughout the school year (regardless of the fact that apple production in Croatia is not included in self-sufficient production, and mandarin orange is) and because this fruit is easy to give to children, it does not require elaborate preparation other than washing the fruit first, while handing out other fruit and vegetables that can be found on the List of Acceptable Produce (pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, strawberries, carrots and tomatoes) are somewhat more complicated and need to be prepared in a particular way, and they are also not present on the market in sufficient quantities throughout the school year. And if it is available, this fruit/vegetable comes from imports on high and unacceptable prices, like for example cherries and strawberries during the winter so suppliers do not deliver them to schools because of that reason. Besides, the project was approved by the EU as assistance to the Croatian fruit and vegetable sector so imported fruits/vegetables cannot be included on the List.
However, what kind of text would this be if none of the suppliers were contacted?

What is it like for them, what challenges do they encounter, what is positive and what negative, what has changed, associate professor Zvonimir Zdunić, Ph.D., the director of Agricultural Institute in Osijek answered:
“The Agricultural Institute Osijek, Department for Fruit-Growing, owns an experimental plantation “Tovljač” that in its production structure owns a large collection of continental fruit varieties and sorts. The intention to introduce the School Fruit Scheme was to bring an end to the story about healthy nutrition by making harvested fruits available for sale near cities and schools, educate them through children’s workshops, and motivate children and schools to participate in growing and picking fruits.

What nobody prepared us for were all the related problems in achieving our goals, with the help of the project that sounded interesting and which was really a logical solution to the existing problems.

Anyone who is about to accept this project must have proper logistics and manpower available every day. Our experience was based on 12 schools only, but that was enough to copy and implement at a larger number of schools. The goods had to be prepared and ready for transport before 7 a.m. and it was transported to schools every day. It was important to take care of labelling the packages and make sure the fruits are healthy, without damage and exact in number.

The selection of fruits and their calibration was the biggest problem. Even though the Department owned a big assortment, the problem occurs during delivery, i.e. the duration of the school year. At the beginning of the school year, suppliers do not have a big choice because of the structure of fruit productions in Croatia (not enough quality late varieties, e.g. plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots). Besides, the specificity of the production in the open when it comes to growing fruits can result in a lower percentage of coloured/sweet apple varieties in the structure of the fruit offer in the season. I am emphasising this because approximately 85 % of the offer and delivery of the fruits is related to apples. We had a problem because the year was such that the assortment only contained “Zlatni delišes” in the demanded calibration. When it comes to calibration and weight, it is the biggest problem. Assigned, recommended quantity per child means delivery of fruits of class II (when talking about apples and pears), because according to surveys in contracted schools, only one school was prepared to cut the fruits, while others insisted on having one fruit per child. Such fruits were small, most commonly had bad colour and aroma (given the maturity). Unfortunately, there were many complaints regarding assortment that was repetitive, but year in which we supplied schools under the School Fruit Scheme was extremely unfavourable and other option was to buy imported fruits that flooded our markets and centres, which was out of the question for us, because the whole story and our idea of fresh home-made product would all be for nothing.

The most positive part, besides this commercial part of deliveries, were definitely the workshops, tasting and children’s stay in our orchard during apple picking. This part showed that children do not need much to acquire consuming fruits and to make it their everyday habit. It is necessary to introduce fruits in an interesting, acceptable way with a little effort of all people involved in the chain – school, teachers, cooks, suppliers, producers.

There were no significant and big changes other than “awareness” on all challenges and unforeseen situations that the project brought. When it comes to the challenge for the suppliers, it is definitely the already mentioned fruit offer/demand that is specific each year. Fruits that can be delivered are of smaller calibrations and it is important to foresee the before determined quantity suppliers have to store at the local ice-box in order to have sufficient quantity before the first spring strawberries or cherries. The meaning of the whole project is the local/regional advantage and usage of existing resources in feeding children with fruit and in the scarcity of it, feeding them with fruits outside these frames. It is definitely a challenge to arrange deliveries with schools, given that the already existing suppliers have leverage. It is necessary to offer “additional” value to the product, not just regarding the price – because that part is defined by a budget available to schools and suppliers by the end of the school year and in which everything needs to be incorporated, but also regarding the quality and motivation of children to consume fruits. Suppliers have to balance between what the school wishes and the possibilities of their offer and be prepared for all unforeseen challenges.”
The answers also came from Stjepan Zorić, the president of Klaster Slavonska jabuka.

In your opinion, what is the use of the School Fruit Scheme for Croatian agricultural producers?
S.Z: The School Fruits Scheme has been implemented since 2009 in order to change the bad feeding habits of school children, which the EU spends around EUR 90 million per year on. All EU countries used such financing of consummation of fruits in order to develop the local market as well and buy fruits from local producers. The example of Romania that has an annual programme of EUR 5 million and 100 % of fruits consumption from domestic, i.e. local sources while the best example of taking care of its producers is Italy that managed to receive the amount of EUR 20 million per year and it adapted the whole programme to its producers and all fruit comes from domestic producers. All countries took this measure as a good opportunity to develop the local market and the development of the local producers, while this is not the case in Croatia. We estimate that not even 50 % of fruit comes from Croatian producers. This is the case because the Ministry of Agriculture failed to recognise this project as a good opportunity to help and develop their producers, most probably under pressure from market lobbyists. The second reason is lack of organisation, i.e. lack of storage capacities, refrigeration units. The situation is better in the north west of Croatia and Zagreb region, where an organisation of producers supplies schools in Zagreb with their own fruit. The situation is disastrous in Slavonia, 80 % of fruit is imported, apples come mostly from Slovenia, trading companies supply schools and we know that they import apples from Slovenia given that they do not buy from us. In this tender and rulebook for 2016, we missed the opportunity to turn this, excellent measure, into free assistance to fruit producers (some countries stated clearly in their rulebooks that fruits must be exclusively of domestic origin while some were more subtle in getting this message across, but they have still achieved an upturn in the development of domestic production).
Do you have any data in percentages as to the quantity of fruit and vegetables imported into Croatia and what is most commonly imported, but not that necessary?
S.Z: Croatia imports fruits to the tune of USD 180 million, around USD 10 million is spent on southern fruits that we cannot produce, all other fruits can be produced, and this negative balance, according to our estimations, can be transformed into a positive balance of at least USD 100 million. We have two climatic zones in Croatia, Mediterranean and continental as well as a big EU market because some northern countries cannot produce the fruits we can. If we stop the deterioration of agriculture and make a realistic development strategy and start producing what we can sell, not what we want to produce, we can become exporters of a large number of agricultural products by 2020.
While I observed school menus I noticed certain deficiencies, but since I am not an expert I contacted a nutritionist Nenad Bratković who answered what I wanted to know. I think that nutritionists are the ones that have to be represented more and be more involved in such important subjects.
What do you think about the School Fruit Scheme in the HR, would you change something because if we take a look at the school menu of one primary schools it can be seen that bread is on the menu every day and that children are taught to eat bread with everything, from pasta, potatoes…bread goes well with everything?

School Fruit Scheme is a praiseworthy action supported by the European Union which must not be mixed with the food culture and habits of Croatian children. This Scheme should be looked at separately from the realistic situation of a regular food culture in primary schools, with feeding habits that children acquire at home that need to be looked at even more separately.

As the Master of Nutrition for years now, personally and professionally I do not at all agree with the guidelines on nutrition and the so-called “pyramids of healthy diet” that are promoted in schools and in which bread, bagels, pasta and potatoes are the foundation of a diet. In that context (carbohydrate), as well as antioxidative and fibre importance of dietary input of vegetables and fruits falls into a completely different plan, just like the importance of the dietary input of proteins and fats. If the consummation of bread is promoted, along with other starchy foods, as quite desirable, then it is absolutely unacceptable.
Do nutritionists need to be more involved in designing school menus and of how much use is that one fruit per day if the main meal is not nutritionally rich and if we do not take into account the correct combining of food and spicing?

I believe that it is of great importance to include nutritionists into designing school menus on the level of a county, region or cities, and not other related professions that according to some inertia and lack of understanding of the hierarchy are doing the job of a nutritionist. Institutionalised dietary consulting belongs to Masters of Nutrition, not to other professions that are often hired in such activities. It is important to emphasise that all professions in their domain need to cooperate for the well-being of public health of the population.

Likewise, I have to emphasise that within the nutritional profession in the state there must be some kind of consensus, because when it comes to a nutritionist without competencies, continuous education and eventual specialisation there will be no quality shift in dietary behaviour.

When is it best to consume fruits, before or after a meal?

It would be incorrect to claim that fruit intake should exclusively occur at a particular part of the day, because if the digestion is functional (healthy child), then there are no significant obstacles, even more because we need to find any reason for consuming fruits and including them in meals as a whole food.

However, if it is possible, the more optimal recommendation would be to consume fruit before a meal, or 2.5 or 3 hours after the main meal. In actual conditions, meals of children are rich with starch and added sugars and in such case it is recommended to consume fruits between meals, or before (such) meals.

The biggest disadvantage of the diet of children is the existence of added sugars and trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are acids that in the long run have very undesirable effects on children’s health.
My comment: you see why it is important to hear from a real expert when it comes to diet?

Institutions in Croatia are interested in cooperation, and this is evidenced by both the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts as well as my respondent Tena Đaković who helped me to learn more.

Has the number of started and finished projects in the agricultural sector increased since Croatia’s accession to the EU in comparison to the period when Croatia was not a Member State, and having in mind that workshops on “How to use EU funds” are held and all necessary information is available to the public? Is there greater interest on the part of agricultural entrepreneurs?
CCTC: When Croatia became a member of the EU, it received at its disposal significantly bigger resources from the EU budget, much bigger autonomy in programming and defining potential resource users as well as significantly bigger package of measures, which definitely has positive effects on the response of potential users. Annual allocation of resources from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, if we take EU and Croatia’s resources into consideration, amounts to EUR 338 543 404.32, while in its pre-accession IPARD period, the annual allocation amounted to EUR 35 123 809.43. For resources from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, a high interest of potential users was noticed, so 1268 applications were submitted to the competition for assigning resources from measure 4, Investing in physical assets, with the total value of demanded support of HRK 2.67 billion. When we compare these figures with the pre-accession period in which, through measures 101 and 103 (that are a double to this sub-measure) for the whole period of implementation, from 2010 to 2014, the total of 656 applications were submitted, with demanded support requirement of HRK 1.37 billion, it is clear what advancement was achieved in the sense of raising user interest and the number of potential projects. Of course, the interest itself doesn’t mean much without quality and timely processing of applications, contracted and paid projects that will finally be sustainable in the long run and have positive influence on the overall development of rural areas of the Republic of Croatia.

In what way is the School Fruit Scheme useful for the economy of the Republic of Croatia, what has changed; if you could compare the state of the economy before and now during the realisation of School Fruit Scheme, which positive changes did the School Fruit Scheme bring to the economy, and what may be its negative side?
CCTC: As the result of excellent results achieved under the School Fruit Scheme for 2013/2014, the Republic of Croatia ran the School Fruit Scheme in 1st to 8th grade of primary schools in the school year 2014/2015. The project will also be run this year; educational seminars for this year that will be held in various cities of Croatia are currently being prepared. (May 2015)

The goal of the School Fruit Scheme is the shaping of dietary habits of children and limiting the consumption of food with high levels of fat, sugar and salt in order to prevent obesity and illnesses related with inadequate diet, and enabling school children with additional meals of fresh fruit or vegetables.

In the last year, the School Fruit Scheme saw participation of schools with the total of 330 889 students from 1st to 8th grade in 884 primary schools in the Republic of Croatia in which fruits and vegetables were offered as a separate meal, continually throughout the whole school year, regardless of the meal in the regular school diet setting.

The Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development published on the web page http://www.apprrr.hr/trzisna-potpora-53.aspx the list of suppliers that meet the requirements of the public tender and which will supply schools with which they sign a contract, with fruits and vegetables, as well as the list of schools with the total number of students per school that can participate in the School Fruit Scheme.

Through the School Fruit Scheme fruit producers and distributors have an open market for placing their products and children get a nutritious and healthy meal.

Who controls that the money from the EU funds is appropriately invested, especially when it comes to the agricultural sector?

CCTC: In order to share resources from any EU funds, and from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, there must be orderly and accredited control system that will ensure the resources are allocated to users and projects that meet the criteria assigned by crucial EU regulations, Rural Development Programme and implementation documents. This role in Croatia is played by the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development that invites tenders, processes applications, requirements for payment and also implements administrative requirement control, as well as field control. The work of the Agency is audited and supervised by the Internal Audit Service, Agency for the Audit of European Union Programmes Implementation System (ARPA), while the General Administration for Agriculture and Rural Development and European Audit Court also monitor and audit the implementation of measures for rural development. The Ministry of Agriculture, on the other hand, has to follow the reaching of goals set out in the Rural development programme and should be adapted accordingly. Given that the minister of agriculture assigns accreditation to the Paying Agency, he also follows and supervises its work through authority services. So, the control of resources costs from the end user is done by the Paying Agency, while its work is supervised by all other mentioned services.

And if you are an adult, here’s what’s on offer, the prices and the origin…

Williams pear – South Africa 18.99 HRK/kg
Lemon – Turkey 17.99 HRK/kg
Beetroot – Netherlands 5.99 HRK/kg
Fresh ginger – China 19.99 HRK/kg
Abate Fetel pear – Italy 16.99 HRK/kg
Braeburn apple – Croatia 8.99 HRK/kg

The School Fruit Scheme and School Milk Programme are most certainly interesting, useful, although from what I can see in grocery stores, schoolyards…more education, a larger selection of produce, and a more varied diet are required to change children’s habits, while children should be banned from buying energy drinks.

I think children’s parents are those who want the best for their children, and while talking with one parent I was told that the biggest problem is children using their lunch money for things that are cool, popular, interesting, sweet, that taste like pizza, hamburgers, ham…while they refuse to bring sandwiches or fruit to school, as they are embarrassed while others are buying food, and a parent doesn’t want a child to feel left out.

True habits are learnt at home and not from a school meal or a scheme. Parents are those who care the most about the quality of their children’s diet, and who make sure that they have everything they need.

While I was in primary school, we were offered one sweet roll, paid for monthly, we had one sweet shop and all snacks for children were sold at ridiculously low prices, and there was also a bakery nearby. This is what we had to choose from, no one ever brought anything from home as it was more fun to go with your friends to the shop and buy new snacks.

However, when I started secondary school, I grew out of this and I started to bring food to school as I had had enough of poor quality food and wasting money on stupid things that weren’t good for my body.

I learned that at home; not from in school or from a teacher. This is why I believe that money should be invested in real things, in quality, and if you want to change someone’s dietary habits, start at home…use social status, employment, household budget as a starting point, change that and the problem will be solved in the long run.

Information: Respondents were contacted separately as the goal was not for different opinions to clash, rather to give readers an insight into the diverse experiences and viewpoints on this issue, and to keep them informed. My opinions are independent of those of the respondents included in this text.

Interesting links for reading:

http://www.eufic.org/article/en/expid/Fruit-vegetable-consumption-Europe/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652997/

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sfs/index_en.htm

http://www.vecernji.hr/hrvatska/daci-se-navikli-na-voce-no-ravnatelje-cude-cijene-999728

http://www.vecernji.hr/premium/besplatni-vocni-obrok-za-ucenike-ne-zeli-125-skola-1024975

http://www.vecernji.hr/eu/hrvatska-dobila-136-milijuna-za-dijeljenje-voca-i-povrca-u-skolama-995783

http://ec.europa.eu/health/highlights/2012/15/short_content_en.htm

http://www.producebusinessuk.com/supply/stories/2015/07/09/coming-of-age-with-evolving-school-fruit-vegetable-scheme

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