Vegan Menu Helps Preschool Earn UNESCO Award

The United Nations agency honors Rotorua’s Tiaki Early Learning Centre in New Zealand for revamping its menu from vegetarian to vegan and aiming to create zero waste.


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The Rotorua’s Tiaki Early Learning Centre in New Zealand received a New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO Award for Global Citizenship Education this month, in part for its efforts in shifting to a fully vegan menu. Since 2015, Tiaki served students a vegetarian menu and recently worked with registered nutritionist Jasmin Jackson to develop a vegan menu. “For the children at Tiaki, eating a plant-based meal each day while in preschool is particularly beneficial,” Tiaki head teacher Katherine Maud told local media outlet Stuff. “It’s been quite a journey to get our [food] to where it is today, zero waste, vegan, and nutritionally sound while still appealing to two- to six-year olds, so we are very proud of what we’ve accomplished.” The center sources a large portion of its food from an on-site garden and makes items such as crackers and bread from scratch, which encourages its students to reduce waste and foster sustainable living practices. The UNESCO’s inaugural awards recognized projects that empower learners to be active and responsible global contributors to a more peaceful and sustainable world.