Published: Wednesday, 20th September 2023
Hundreds of pupils across Medway are learning about good food and where it comes from.
Schools across the area are working with Food for Life, a Soil Association programme, which aims to make nutritious food a core part of children’s education and school experience – from eating tasty, balanced meals at lunch time, to growing their own veg in school gardens.
As part of the programme, Medway schools are enjoying growing, cooking and farm visits as pupils learn about food and where it comes from, setting up healthy habits for life.
Commissioned by our A Better Medway public health team, Food for Life also has an award programme, which is a benchmark for school food quality and excellence in food education. The awards process guides schools through four areas of development: Food Quality, Food Leadership & Culture, Food Education, and Community & Partnerships.
Listening to and encouraging pupils’ voices is a key part of the Food for Life Award framework, meaning changes reflect the whole school community.
At Inspire Academy in Chatham, which has received the bronze Food for Life Award, pupils wanted fresher options at lunch, so the school introduced a salad cart that is available every lunchtime.
At St James Church of England Primary Academy, on the Isle of Grain, pupils have been growing herbs from seeds and establishing a wildlife-friendly area on the school field.
Oaklands School in Walderslade have been preparing and cooking food from around the world, both during the school day and at their popular Cooking Club.
Luton Primary School in Chatham visit a farm every Thursday, feeding animals and learning about the food chain. School staff have also attended training sessions to learn how to deliver cooking and growing activities in school, and The Contract Dining Company are actively working towards a Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award. The company cater for 31 schools across Medway, and this accreditation will demonstrate that their meals are freshly prepared with local and ethically sourced ingredients.
Encouraging residents to make healthier choices
Cllr Teresa Murray, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “I am delighted that more than 20 schools are taking part in the fantastic Food for Life programme. We are committed to encouraging all our residents to make healthier choices so they can live longer lives and eating healthily is a major part of this. By teaching Medway’s younger residents about food, where it comes from and helping them grow their own, they are learning valuable lessons that they can pass on to their families at home. The Food for Life programme also supports our aspiration make Medway even more child-friendly, putting our children and young people at the heart of everything we do.”