Organic food in daycare centers doesn’t have to be expensive. It is possible for up to 15 percent additional financial outlay.
Only the anticipation of organic food is priceless Photo: Dominik Koos
For ten months, three municipal daycare centers in Bremen prepared meals using only certified organic ingredients as part of the pilot project "More Organic in Bremen Daycare Centers. The result: organic nutrition is possible at an additional financial cost of 10 to 15 percent. On average, an organic meal is 23 cents more expensive than conventionally prepared meals.
The model test was carried out by the Social Ecology Association from Bremen in cooperation with the organic city of Bremen. The evaluation was discussed at a meeting in Market Hall 8 with Environment Senator Joachim Lohse. The aim of the project was to test how expensive it is to convert daycare centers to organic food.
First, the financial requirements of the participating daycare centers were determined for a conventional diet with an organic share of ten percent. Then, the expenditures for the purchase of exclusively organic food were determined. After all, 96 percent of the products purchased were organic.
As part of the project, the participating daycare centers from Neustadt, Horn-Lehe and Vegesack were supported – both in purchasing directly from organic producers and in putting together regional and thus cost-effective meals. The project was accompanied by workshops with children and daycare center staff on farms or in market gardens. However, there was no common menu. "Project coordinator Lea Unterholzner calls the results of the test "fantastic values. The project would gather practical knowledge about cost-effective, ecological nutrition.
In addition to the three model daycare centers, which wanted to continue to maintain a high proportion of organic food, other daycare centers from Kita Bremen as well as denominational daycare centers have expressed interest in the expanded use of organic food. "We want to support these with educational offers and know-how," says Unterholzner, giving an outlook for the future. However, a continuation of cost coverage as for the pilot project is not planned, he says.
Petra Stubakow from the office of Kita Bremen does not consider an increase in the proportion of organic food to be out of the question. "We have our own kitchens in the vast majority of daycare centers," she says, adding that they are well positioned to expand their use of organic foods.
Claudia Elfers, a consultant for Bio-Stadt Bremen at the Senator for the Environment, Building and Transportation, reports that an organic diet is more problematic and more expensive where one is dependent on external caterers. She hopes that the Senate will soon present the action plan for the gradual introduction of organic food in schools, daycare centers and hospitals to the Burgerschaft.
On average, an organic meal is 23 cents more expensive than one prepared conventionally
The action plan, which should have been presented in September according to a resolution of the Bremen parliament, is based on the citizens’ motion "Billigfleisch" (cheap meat) of the "Agrarpolitisches Bundnis Bremen" (Agricultural Policy Alliance Bremen), in which the association Sozialokologie Bremen is also active.
According to the motion, only organic food is to be served in schools and daycare centers as well as at public receptions by 2022. An organic quota of 75 percent was also planned for public hospitals. This was recently opposed by the health department, which criticizes an organic quota due to the high proportion of convenience products in hospitals.
The action plan provides for an "expenditure-neutral" change in diet. Increased financial requirements or increased personnel or material expenses for direct food processing are not envisaged.
If the action plan is actually implemented, Elfers sees Bremen far ahead in terms of organic nutrition. This would benefit not only consumers, but also organic agriculture from the region.