Too few councils and other public institutions use food that is being grown and raised in their own back yards. The government and far-left support party Enhedslisten are setting up a task force to help councils buy locally.
The island of Bornholm is well-known for a wide variety of delicacies, but the local council and institutions use only a small fraction of the bounty.
“I was recently on Bornholm, and people expressed a clear desire to use more local produce and I think that feeling is the same across the country,” the food and agriculture minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokraterne), said in a press release. “Public kitchens serve 800,000 meals every day, so they are a major player.”
The new task force will help public kitchens improve at buying local and organic food.
It has traditionally been difficult for small local businesses to get a foot in the door of the public sector due to the large quantities demanded and the complex procurement rules. The government has allocated 17 million kroner for the task force’s efforts to encourage local shopping by public kitchens.
“The more food that is produced and sold locally, the more jobs are created in the local area,” said Enhedslisten spokesperson Per Clausen. “Many local producers have great products and ideas, and we want to help.”
The public sector purchases 4.2 billion kroner worth of food annually.
Thomas Rode Andersen, the Michelin-starred chef at Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen and Denmark’s number one ambassador for the paleo or Stone Age diet, applauded the effort to buy local and organic food for public institutions.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “Denmark has so much delicious local and organic food to offer, so it is great to see the government encouraging institutions to use it.”