School Food improves in the UK
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The Secretary of State for Education, Alan Johnson, announced measures to improve school food in Great Britain. Soil Association’s Policy Director Peter Melchett stated that he was delighted by this announcement, since it was an approach to transform school meals in the long term. He regarded the focus on training cooks and the commitment to help small local organic farms to supply schools as very important. (Picture/Soil Association)
The Association’s program “Food for Life” aims to improve school food in various points to provide healthy food to all children, regardless of the background or social income. School lunches should aim to provide food which meets the nutrition targets set by the Caroline Walker Trust and the School Meals Review Panel. The plan sees an importance for 75 % of all foods consumed are made from unprocessed ingredients; at least 50 % of meal ingredients are sourced from the local region and at least 30 % from certified organic sources. Furthermore, better classroom education on food, cooking nutrition and health has to be granted and all children should visit a farm at least one during their time at school.
A great deal of their Food for Life program was achieved, remarked Peter Melchett.
The challenge now was to make it work. The uptake has more than doubled in the schools working with the association. Since the education of the children is fundamental to this success, it will continue its work to ensure that every child in England learns where food comes from by visiting an organic farm. More schools and local authorities should adopt Food for Life, so schools meet the required standards.
The Soil Association works with over 500 schools and 10 local authorities on Food for Life. In Essex, Ashlyns organic farm and training kitchen for school cooks is now working with 25 schools. Trainings for cooks are provided, nutritionally balanced menus are planned, and fresh and organic produce to schools are supplied. The uptake in these schools has increased an average of 38 % in under a month.
A survey of the Association showed that Local Education Authorities spend 0.75 Euro for ingredients for primary school meals in 2006, which is only an increase of 6 Euro Cents compared with 2005; some schools spent even less per meal. The survey also revealed an overall drop in the percentage of primary school children staying for lunch from 49 % in 2005 to 44 % in 2006. The Schools which have improved meals are bucking this trend. Also, school meal providers are beginning to source local and organic food - some organic produce for meals is sourced, and 63 % of the schools use some local food.
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