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Battleford, SK, Canada

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Photos and Videos

The photos and videos in our gallery were taken by PPULS Director, Rhea Good, and another Canadian teacher who visited Finland on a professional exchange.  The school food programming was witnessed and photographed first-hand. 


PPULS hopes you will agree that these photos are exemplars of high quality school-based food service, quite different from the patchwork programming that takes place in Canadian schools.  The positive exemplars serve to remind us that PPULS's goals for a transformation of school-based food programming are achievable.  


In Canada we seem to have accepted low standards for school food practices in the category of "good enough".  The lack of infrastructure for food preparation has demanded creative solutions, but solutions that typically promote the fast food philosophy including handheld food, lots of packaging, nothing fresh, and canteen food instead of mealtime practices. 


Creating habits for healthy eating is not cheap, but considerably less expensive than the costs of illness and chronic health problems.  Yes - our children are worth it.

More photos shown below.

 

Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu (elementary school in Helsinki, Finland)

August 2014

Tehtaankatu School has a student population of approximately 260 students in years 1-6, ages 7-14.  This photo was taken when there was a break from classes coming for lunch.  Students file along both sides of the hot buffet table for efficient service.

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Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu (elementary school in Helsinki, Finland)

August 2014

The hot entrees that particular day were elbow macaroni with beef in brown gravy sauce.

Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

The Finnish school food menu is gradually evolving to include alternate proteins instead of meat.  There is one meatless meal per week.  A vegetarian alternate entree is also offered every day to accommodate for special diets.  This  is the vegetarian option.

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Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

Here is the daily salad bar offering: tomato and onion salad on the left, garden salad on the right.

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Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

The daily lunch menu also includes a variety of "crisps," a cracker type product.  The spread is similar to margarine.  This is a "Help Yourself" item offered at a side table after students pass by the buffet tables with the hot entrees and salads.

Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

The cold well table with the salads also contains a variety of lactose-free beverage alternatives.

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Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This is the plate scraping station that all students use after eating. The self-service buffet minimizes waste because students can adjust their portion size according to their appetite.  Second helpings are available so there is no need to take more than you think you can eat.  Any plate waste is scraped for composting.  Using porcelain plates and metal cutlery instead of disposable plastic means there is minimal daily contribution to landfill.

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Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This is the commercial kitchen within the elementary school.  Kitchen staff use the dishwasher machine.  Salad offerings are prepared at the schools.  Hot entrees are cooked off-site and delivered to schools prior to lunch service, approximately 11:15 a.m.

Tehtaankatu Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

The commercial kitchen area is equipped with walk-in fridge to manage fresh items for the daily salads.

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Tehtaankatu, Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This is the poster to show the balanced plate.  Every lunch menu in Finland includes foods so that students can make a plate to match this exemplar.

In Canada, we have similar propaganda, and we teach "the balanced plate" but our menu items do not match.

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Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland (an elementary school of approximately 600 students, years 1-8, ages 7-16)

August 2014

These photos were taken on a Friday afternoon after the lunch service.  Kitchen staff and student helpers have left the cafeteria clean and ready for school on Monday.

Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This school has two buffet tables to facilitate four lines of self-service during the busy lunch hour.

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Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

Multiple hot wells make for efficient self-service in the buffet lines.

Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

The Finnish government has an umbrella policy translated as "Future-oriented policy."  One aspect of this policy is the consideration of contribution to landfills.  Therefore, school meal programs do not use styrofoam plates, plastic cutlery, or throw-away cups.  Practice what you preach.

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Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This the empty cold well table where the salads would be.  Notice on top of the service table where the Vice-Principal is showing where the menus are posted.  There is a page showing the six-week menu cycle and a Menu of the Day page which contains more detailed information.

Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

Canadians seem unable to end the debate regarding the amounts of sugar in the variety of flavored drinks marketed for the school lunch market.

In Finland, the choice is simple.  Cow's milk and a lactose-free milk alternates are offered.  Otherwise, the main message is to drink water to quench thirst.

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Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

Here is another example of a clean-up cart where students are responsible for plate-scraping and sorting the dirty dinnerware for the dishwashing process.

Taivaajden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

This is a storage cupboard for extra plates, cups, etc. which are used when the school hosts events like graduation and performing arts shows.  The auditorium is adjacent to the cafeteria so the accordian wall is pulled open and people have easy access to tea and dainties served in the cafeteria.

Styrofoam plates and cups are not used even for mass catering events.

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Taivaahden Peruskoulu, Helsinki, Finland

August 2014

There are 12 tables with 10 chairs each, so approximately 120 people can be seated comfortably to eat lunch.  The students eat at staggered times, at approximately 15 minute intervals, to reduce wait time in the buffet line, and so that the cafeteria need not seat the entire school population at once.  Younger classes eat first, starting at approximately 11:15.

Turun Ammatti Instituutti, Vocational Secondary School for ages 16-19 in Turku, Finland

August 2014

Class times are often staggered in the secondary schools, similar to post-secondary schedules here in Canada.  While lunch is served free for everyone, the cafeteria is open throughout the day for purchasing items like coffees, muffins, etc.

This photo was taken about 8:30 a.m. so there were not many students at school at that time.

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Turun Ammatti Instituutti, Vocational Secondary School in Turku, Finland

August 2014

This is a partial view of the eating area.  We toured the school before most classes began so it was not busy.

Turun Ammatti Instituutti, Vocational Secondary School in Turku, Finland

August 2014

This is a table dedicated for coffee and tea service with the mugs, sugar packets, and spoons.  Note the small plant which has been put out to dress up the service.  And- table skirting!  This is not graduation day.  Serving food to students is worthy of cloth table skirting.  Canadian students are also worthy of being served food in a dignified manner.

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Turun Ammatti Instituutti, Vocational Secondary School, Turku, Finland

August 2014

This is a table dedicated to serving bread.  Students cut their own slice with the knife provided. The dark brown loaf sits under a tea cloth to maintain freshness.  To the right is a cold well table not yet filled with milk products for the coffee and tea service.


Note the fresh cut plant slip to dress up the table. 

Turun Ammatti Instituutti, Vocational Secondary School, Turku, Finland

August 2014

There is considerable evidence that adolescents perform better when they are able to sleep later in the morning.  Therefore, most classes in Finland's secondary schools start at 9:30.  hmmm...

Here is a lone student purchasing himself a coffee at 8:30 a.m. when we toured the school.  The staff behind the counter is using a cash register for this sale.  Snacks and drinks outside of the lunch serving hours, approximately 11-2 p.m., are available for purchase.

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Kirkkojarven Koulu, Elemantary School of approximately 600 students, ages 7-16 in school, and ages 5-6 in pre-school programming, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

The salad bar offerings were a coleslaw/lettuce salad with dressing in the pitchers on the side.  The second fresh vegetable was cucumber slices.

Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Many of the meals are designed with a carbohydrate like potatoes, rice, pasta, and a sauce to go on top, or on the side.  The PPULS menu is designed in a similar way.  Many of the hot entrees have a meatless version to accommodate special diets.
For example, in the PPULS menu, potatoes would be served with a beef and gravy sauce, or a mushroom gravy sauce as the vegetarian alternative.

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Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Hash browned potatoes with sausage.  That's a hearty lunch.  This photo shows the students helping themselves in the buffet line.

Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

School lunch programming is a daily routine.  This is what it looks like.

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Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Mindful eating includes serving with reasonably sized portions to reduce waste.  All waste is sorted to separate organic matter suitable to compost from the matter destined for other recycling or landfill.

Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Here is the drop-off station for dirty dinnerware.  Students sort into the proper trays for washing.  The commercial kitchen equipment is visible in the background.

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Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Most school staff choose to eat in the cafeteria with students.  Homeroom teachers eat with their students before they go for their lunch break.  Any visitors to the school such as phychologists, nurses, etc. are also likely to be found in the common eating area, mingling with students.

Most Finnish citizens have grown up eating school food, so it is a comforting, positive environment for adults as well.

Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

One day a week is soup day, which is to say that soup is the main hot entree, as opposed to a small side dish.  Notice that large meal-sized bowls are in use instead of the usual dinner plates. The usual salad and fresh fruit and vegetable offerings are part of the soup day meal.

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Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

Student helpers were involved with washing tables after the lunch service.  This group of middle years age students received an ice cream treat on Friday afternoon after helping for the week.

Kirkkojarven Koulu, in Espoo, Finland

October 2016

These students would be about 8-9 years old.  Are they wondering why the Canadian lady is talking photos of the lunch line?  It was very interesting to talk with Finnish people who assume that Canada would have similar school food programming with an in-school kitchen, cafeteria tables, hot entrees, salads every day, etc.  No, we don't.

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