In 2003, we launched our Food for Life campaign, inspired by revolutionary dinner lady Jeanette Orrey. Food for Life aimed to help schools serve fresh, local and organic meals and give pupils the chance to visit farms to see how their food is produced.
Before long, the infamous Jamie's School Dinners programme aired and the public were outraged at what they saw. The poor state of school dinners was in the headlines daily and we saw a huge rise in awareness and interest in the work Food for Life was doing to help schools improve their meals.
It wasn't long before dramatic changes in Government policy were made, including the formation of the School Food Trust and new nutritional standards for school meals.
Food for Life Partnership
Riding on the success of our Food for Life campaign, the Soil Association joined forces with the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust to find funding to work with schools across England.
In 2006, the Food for Life Partnership was successful in securing a £16.9M grant from the Big Lottery Fund to create a healthy food culture in local schools and communities.
Why food culture matters in schools
More and more people are becoming detached from how food is produced and losing the skills and knowledge needed to take active control over what we eat.
The results are worrying. The British Medical Association predicts that by 2020, over one quarter of children will be obese and they will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Over 30% of our climate change footprint comes from the food we eat. Overreliance on convenience food is also eroding our food culture. More than half of meals are now eaten alone.
To tackle these problems we need to do more than target young people with messages about health and sustainability.
We need to make greater progress towards our vision of healthy and climate-friendly school meals for all, using seasonal, fresh, local and organic ingredients. And we need to inspire young people and their families to make food a priority by giving them the chance to visit farms and to cook and grow their own food.
Any school in England can join the Food for Life Partnership and use their action framework and award scheme to make the transition to healthier food culture.
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