A private kindergarten in Vilnius is the first pre-school education institution in Lithuania to offer a fully vegetarian option to its pupils.
© Vida Press

Jūratė Verneckienė, founder and director of the private kindergarten "Šviesos slėnis" (Valley of Light), says she had to go to numerous government institutions to have them sign off on a vegetarian menu. She consulted with the Ministry of Healthcare, the Mayor of Vilnius and even the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman's Office. The process took over three years.

Ms. Verneckienė says that parents have a basic right to raise their children in line with their beliefs, which is what her kindergarten is for.

“Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians have a choice to either eat healthy or not. Children of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian parents come to our kindergarten. The menu isn’t the only reason why parents choose our kindergarten, but we try and pick healthy and nutritious products from ecological Lithuanian stores. Providing a nutritious diet is a priority for us,” the director of the kindergarten says in a statement.

She says that the entire staff of the kindergarten try to stay up to date on best vegetarian options from all over the world. The employees attend vegetarian cooking lessons, and the kindergarten works closely with other education institutions that advocate healthy lifestyles.

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