A New Zealand nursery has won a UNESCO award for their vegan menu. Since 2015 the Rotorua’s Tiaki Early Learning Centre has been serving students a vegetarian menu, however a recent shift in efforts to become zero-waste and more environmentally friendly has seen a menu change to only vegan food being served.
Their efforts have seen them awarded with a New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO Award for Global Citizenship Education. The pre-school sources a large portion of their food from their fruit and vegetables grown onsite, which not only provides them with the freshest ingredients possible, but also cuts down on packaging waste.
Head teacher, Katherine Maud said: “Growing our own veggies and fruit has been a great way to reduce waste, as well as making things like crackers, bread, houmous, biscuits, plant milks etc. from scratch to avoid packaging.
“It’s been quite a journey to get our kai [food] to where it is today, zero waste, vegan and nutritionally sound whilst still appealing to 2-6 year olds, so we are very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Maud added: “If we could do it well, and meet the children’s nutritional needs, we thought we should. For the children at Tiaki, eating a plant based meal each day while at pre-school is particularly beneficial.
“They are being exposed to different tastes and textures at preschool, and they are developing a genuine liking for vegetables at a crucial period in their development. By learning to enjoy eating plants now, they are setting themselves up for healthy eating habits for the rest of their lives.”
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