European Training Academy (EUTA) team leader Prof. Steve Quarrie presented our activities and progress made during the first year of the Strength2Food project at the second annual meeting in Barcelona. Steve focused on our role in WP 9.1.1, which concerns the improvement of the nutritional and gastronomic quality of school meals, and WP 9.5.1, which deals with encouraging the cooperation of local farmers in order to provide quality agricultural products for the nutritional needs of schools in Serbia.

While part of the discussion related to the information presented in the PPT presentation and data collected from the schools during the first year of the project, most of the discussion related to the provision of educational resources by other partners and Barilla’s first visits to schools in Serbia.

Representatives of the Barilla Academy, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), the University of Zagreb (ZAG) and the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade (BEL) provided ideas and suggestions for educational materials. The partners agreed to share information among themselves and to identify one set of resources to different target groups: children (through teachers), parents, teachers, kitchen staff, policy makers.

In discussions with the Barilla Academy, it was agreed that the visit of their team of chefs and nutritionists to schools in Serbia for a demonstration of cooking nutritious meals will be next year, while the first visit will be in November of this year, when the Barilla team will learn about the method of meal preparation, available resources in schools in Serbia, as well as potential challenges for the introduction of new menus.

EUTA, BEL and MPN (Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development in Serbia) will continue visits and work with schools to collect and analyze data on the quality and origin of food, as well as more active participation of schools in the Strength2Food project. We will also continue work on identifying potential alternative local suppliers in the target regions (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Arilje and Valjevo), with a focus on cooperatives and individual farmers.