In Japan April 15th Begins the School Lunch Year

In Japan April 15th Begins the School Lunch Year

Unlike many countries which begin their school year in the autumn, Japan begins the school year in April. Spring is the time for new beginnings after al!. For students it is not just new books and getting used to, for first graders who may not have experienced “kyushoku” (school lunch) before, today is a momentous day - their first official day experiencing school lunch in school.

NHK News Commentators Bureau: Thinking About School Lunch & Poverty

NHK News Commentators Bureau: Thinking About School Lunch & Poverty

1 in 7 children in Japan live in poverty (14%). This figure is considered high compared to other developed countries and was the impetus behind the passage of the 2013 “Child Poverty Prevention Law.” Under this law, the government and prefectures develop policies to combat poverty of children, in addition to researching and promoting supportive measures. This year marks 5 years since the passage of this law.

Kyushoku Hiroba: Shiraoi Food Education Disaster Prevention Center in Hokkaido

Kyushoku Hiroba: Shiraoi Food Education Disaster Prevention Center in Hokkaido

In Shiraoi a School Lunch Center has been developed with disaster mitigation in mind. The facility operates as a normal school lunch center, but also has the space and services to stock-pile food for times of disaster. The facilities was supported by a subsidy from the local government and operates according to normal standards set forth by the government, including incorporating the “dry system” of food preparation, subdivision of work rooms, and a special room and assigned staff designated to create meals for those with allergies. In the creation of this facility, Shiraoi Town is tackling two big challenges currently facing the school lunch system - how to efficiently cope with allergies - and how to ensure that during times of disaster lunch centers can be used as resources by the general public.

In Brief: What is the Dry Food Preparation Method?

In Brief: What is the Dry Food Preparation Method?

If you talk to someone in the food preparation world in Japan, they will often talk about the “Dry Method” when it comes to meal preparation. Dry is now the norm in school lunch centers throughout Japan, but that implies that there was once a “wet system” - which indeed there was!

Shokuhin Sagyo News: Grand Opening of "Vege Kids" - the Kindergarten where you learn to love vegetables

Japanese food company Kagome announced that they will be opening their first kindergarten, known as “Vege Kids: The Kindergarten Where You Learn to love Vegetables” in Chuo Ward Tokyo. Kagome decided to open Vege Kids in response to the tension that many people face between raising children and career. The Vege Kids curriculum includes cooking, growing seedlings, and making vegetables a part of a “daily scene” for kids that kids can learn the knowledge to be a part of.

Kahoku Online News: "The Muslim Next Door" - Living in Sendai; School Lunch Considerations

Kahoku Online News: "The Muslim Next Door" - Living in Sendai; School Lunch Considerations

On March 25, Kahoku Online news published an article about Muslims living in and around Sendai (north-east Japan) and considerations when it comes to school lunch. The author pointed out the difficulty in balancing Islamic culinary customs into the existing school lunch menu. According to Sendai City Health Education Division, many Muslim children often only eat staple food and milk while eating, and often bring side dishes from home to supplement the menu items that they cannot eat. Meanwhile, some elementary schools are beginning to provide halal-compatible meals - although it is anything but the norm.

The Conversation: Federal budget pledges a Canadian school food program but recipe requires funding

The Conversation: Federal budget pledges a Canadian school food program but recipe requires funding

The Conversation just published an an interesting piece entitled “Federal budget pledges a Canadian school food program but recipe requires funding” which discusses the budgetary needs this new initiative will face. Included in this article is a nice comparative list of school lunch programs from around the world