Good Food for Cities

SchoolFood4Change in Europe

November 8, 2023

The European SchoolFood4Change (SF4C) project, funded by Horizon 2020, aims to make sustainable and healthy food the norm in schools. To this end, they are collaborating with as many as 12 EU countries and offering a whole range of good practices that can be applied both inside and outside the EU. Rikolto developed the Whole School Food Approach (WSFA), while other partners developed all sorts of other materials, such as criteria to use when tendering for public contracts. In Flanders, Rikolto would like to see a food policy in all Flemish schools.

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EU (Belgium, Austria, France, Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Slovakia)

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600,000 students, 3,000 schools

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All children in school are vulnerable to nutrition-related health problems and disadvantage. Read more about the challenges we face.

Today, 800 million people around the world go hungry, while around 650 million people are overweight or obese. And we throw away up to 1/3 of the food we eat. It is unacceptable that one group continues to throw away food en masse while another group has inadequate access to nutritious food. This has to change. With the European SchoolFood4Change (SF4C) project, we want to work towards this change.

SF4C sees schools and children (0-18 years) as catalysts for systemic change through a shift towards sustainable and healthy diets for all EU citizens. If all children at school have equal access to healthy and sustainable food and develop good eating habits from an early age, this will have a positive long-term impact. Of course, implementing something like this on a large scale is not easy. That is why Rikolto has developed the Whole School Food Approach (WSFA), an approach to working on good food in and around schools worldwide.


  • To motivate cities to improve their purchasing policies around school food, so that school meals become more sustainable and healthy. This policy should be in line with the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Strengthen the profession of chefs/caterers and train urban producers to increase knowledge about sustainable and healthy food, taking into account the local context.
  • Provide an inspiring educational environment through the innovative Whole School Food Approach (WSFA), a method for creating a healthy food culture in and around schools. WSFA contributes to community-wide systemic change and impacts on education, sustainability, inequality, communities and health.
  • Evaluatethe impact of SF4C, demonstrate real results in practice (evidence for impact, E4I), especially on health and behaviour change in vulnerable children, and show that it can be cost effective.
  • Aim for impact for all EU citizens, demonstrate that it can be applied across the EU, including outside schools, and work with European Commission services and projects to increase the impact of Farm to Fork by 2030.

Our approach

Within the SchoolFood4Change project, Rikolto is responsible for developing the Whole School Food Approach (WSFA). WSFA is an integrated approach. This means that we look not only at the food in schools, but also at food education and policy and the school environment. This is the only way to ensure a lasting impact.

How we do this?

Development of the WSFA framework ‍

The WSFA framework is scientifically based on evidence from the Czech/Slovak Truly Healthy Schools model, the UK Food4Life and the Belgian GoodFood@School (GF@S) programme, among others. The WSFA framework is also linked to UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme. The model has been developed with partners from 12 EU countries.

Capacity building for city partners and school staff

We support several partners to start working on their own. With this plan, we aim to successfully implement the Whole School Food approach in the different cities and schools involved in the SchoolFood4Change project. Our coaching has several objectives:

  • Provide methodological support for the implementation of the WSFA.
  • Provide technical expertise on the different elements of the WSFA
  • To motivate and engage the different partners in the project
  • We focus in particular on facilitating peer-to-peer learning between cities and schools. See an example of exactly what we do here.
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The SchoolFood4Change project started in 2022. By 2026, we aim to reach as many as 600,000 pupils in 3,000 schools.

Who do we work with?

Who do we work with?

The objectives of Rikolto's GoodFood@School programme in Belgium are aligned with the objectives of the European SchoolFood4Change project. A list of all partners can be found here.

SchoolFood4Change project


Annelies Smets

Project coordinator SchoolFood4Change (EU)

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