Food and drink
An unhealthy diet contributes to obesity and poor health, as well as poor concentration and performance. In contrast, a Sustainable School that procures healthy, ethically sourced food can offer nutritional benefits, and improve pupils’ understanding of food and where it comes from, while also protecting the environment and supporting local producers and suppliers.
In Richmond upon Thames several schools are already well on the way to fulfilling the aims of the Food and Drink doorway.
Sheen Mount Primary is now into its second year with a new caterer and together they are committed to supplying fresh sustainable school food. The school has also reinvigorated its allotment space with the newly formed Secret Gardening Club.
Grey Court School in Ham is establishing a whole-school approach to food and drink with a refurbished dining area, and a community allotment space where students, parents and staff can grow their own fruit and vegetables.
As a borough, Richmond is committed to supplying the best possible school meals to all primary school children and has set up a working party to consider the Doorway challenge of ‘healthy, local sustainable food and drink’.
See the seven principles of sustainable food from Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming.
Ideas for activities
Here are a few ideas for schools to get you started:
- Start a kitchen garden and get pupils involved in growing fruit and vegetables.
- Participate in Fairtrade fortnight with the Fairtrade Foundation, you can even become a Fairtrade school.
- Participate in British Food Fortnight, explain local food sourcing and seasonal foods to pupils.
- Have a ‘foods of the world’ or fruit and vegetable week: encourage pupils to bring in food products for discussion or ‘touch and taste’.
- Get pupils involved in designing sustainable food menus and get them to do a sustainability audit on school meals.
- Start a cookery club involving pupils and their parents.
Do you need help?
If you find any (or all!) of the ideas above a little daunting, there’s lots of help out there. Here are two organisations that are already supporting schools in Richmond.
Food for Life Partnership
The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture.
Led by the Soil Association, the Food for Life Partnership brings together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust.
FFLP aims to give schools access to seasonal, local and organic food, and to the skills they need to cook and grow fresh food for themselves. FFLP wants this generation to explore how their food choices impact on their health and that of the planet, and to rediscover the pleasure of taking time to enjoy real food.
In Richmond seven primary schools and two secondary schools have already registered with FFLP and receive support and great teaching resources to spur them on. St Stephen’s is a flagship school and acts as a mentor to other local schools. You can register your school online.
Capital Growth wants to help Londoners transform the capital by creating 2,012 new food growing spaces by the end of 2012. The Capital Growth campaign offers practical advice and support to schools around London to help them create successful food growing spaces. Your school can benefit by registering online.
You can find lots help on the School Food Matters website below, which contains a list of organisations that can help your school with advice on school meals and food education as well as the ones below.
- School Food Matters - focused on supporting schools in Richmond upon Thames and Kingston, includes case studies, cooking and growing programmes and a Find a Farmer page designed to link local schools to local producers.
- Food In Schools - case studies, material for raising awareness and information on how to purchase sustainable food and school meal standards.
- Growing Schools - teaching resources and information about how to start a school garden.
- The Fairtrade Foundation - the campaigning and certification organisation behind the Fairtrade Mark. Includes information about Fairtrade events, recipes and speakers.
- British Food Fortnight - information about buying food locally, school events, teaching and recipe guides.
- Grab 5! School Food Policy - teaching resources and information to encourage pupils to eat five fruit and vegetables a day.
- Sustain - short guides on sustainable food for children and how to eat greener, healthier and more ethical food.
- Appetite for Action - an interactive sustainable food programme where pupils learn the links between the environment and the food they eat and throw away.
Stephanie Wood, School Food Matters
Telephone: 020 8392 5055