Brasil has a School Food Program since 1955. In the last decade or so it underwent a lot of changes. Maybe one of the biggest changes is that the program was progressively decentralised since 2000. The school food program became part of a number of connected policies under the umbrella of Zero Hunger. As part of the course that I teach in Porto Alegre at the moment, we went to see the municipal school meal program in the small city of Dois Irmáos, approximately 60 kilometers from Porto Alegre (in the most southern state Rio Grande do Sul). The city – or town rather – in the metropolitan area around Porto Alegre of 37.000 inhabitants was established by Germans and it is still very much a German generations town.
We were impressed with the presentation of the municipal vegetable farm, the explanation of the system by the two municipal nutritionists and by the after-school facilities which actually serve the school meal (more about all this later). The students in class were bench marking what they saw with what they experienced and saw elsewhere and commented on the high quality of the facilities. In places with less wealth and commuter communities, it may look different, they said. We were just in time to see the last round of kids having their meal. We ourselves had an early start and were quite looking forward to a meal too…so we were offered a school meal. The picture below shows what I ate. But it can’t by no means be viewed as a standard Brazilian school meal. Not only because the School Food Program was decentralised to cater for local food habits and local produce but also because one image can never explain a system anyway. See the many comments made on this website where school meal pictures from all over the world are shown.