Meeting in an Intermunicipal Council, the municipalities assumed "the commitment to introduce" food products produced in the Algarve in the meals prepared in the region's schools to "promote a change of purchasing behaviours" and "streamline short marketing circuits and healthy consumption habits", justified AMAL in a statement.

The intermunicipal community stressed that the measure also aims to "incorporate the circular economy of waste and food waste" and will allow the introduction in school meals of products produced in the region such as fish (sea bass, mackerel, sea bream), vegetables, sweet potatoes and fruit from the Algarve", already from the beginning of this school year.

The compromise agreement has been approved by "almost all" the Algarve's municipalities, with a view to, along with school groupings, "guaranteeing meals with these products in the region's educational establishments", said the body, which represents the region's 16 municipalities.

The same source said that the plan is to "implement meals and pilot studies to test new models of supplying school canteens".

In addition to establishing "short supply chains", the measure also aims to "purchase food products produced under PGI [Protected Geographical Indication] quality schemes", opting for "environmentally sustainable production systems" and choosing "small local producers, especially those with family farming status".

"AMAL is working to implement 'Sustainable Food Systems', which bring agriculture and the environment closer together, driving a change in purchasing behaviour, with a view to promote short marketing circuits and healthy consumption habits," they argued.

AMAL also stressed that the "Sustainable Food Systems" project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Regional Operational Programme CRESC Algarve 2020.

In information made available on its website, AMAL clarifies that the "Sustainable Food Systems" project aims to "implement a system of aggregated public purchases of local production to supply local and regional institutions, such as schools and Private Institutions of Social Solidarity, among others".

Encouraging "environmentally sustainable modes of production and consumption" to favour "biodiversity, traditional knowledge and healthy diets", with an emphasis on the "Mediterranean diet", is another of the project's objectives, they added.

The project is planned to involve an "investment of around 167,000 euros, to be carried out between 2022 and 2023" and funded 70 percent by CRESC Algarve 2020 and 30 percent by AMAL.