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While most of us lament the state of our children’s school dinners, Italy – and Rome in particular – is bucking the trend, providing its students with wholesome, organic fare. Worldwatch’s State of the World 2010 report reveals that 67.5 per cent of food served to Rome’s 150,000 school children is organic, 26 per cent is local, 14 per cent is certified fair trade and 2 per cent comes from social co-operatives which employ former prisoners or cultivate land confiscated from the Mafia. The birthplace of the Slow Food Movement, Italy prides itself on a long history of valuing homegrown produce and promoting a healthy attitude to food. Getting a decent school meal is considered an integral part of the right of citizens to health and education: in 1999, the Government passed a law which explicitly promotes ‘the use of organic, typical and traditional products’ in school and hospital canteens.

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