London council launches school food strategy to reduce childhood hunger
The unveiling of the strategy coincides with the announcement that from September all primary aged will benefit from the Mayor of London’s Universal Free School Meals scheme.
Kate Stock, cabinet member for children, said: “We know just how important it is for children to have healthy meals to help with their concentration, learning and attainment at school. We know too that many families are struggling to make ends meet in this cost-of-living crisis, so providing a well-prepared and nutritious meal at school is more important than ever.
“School meals are uniquely placed to address under-nutrition and obesity by promoting healthy diets, and which allow us to reach more children than in any other way. This strategy will contribute to reducing food poverty and help us to be a fairer, compassionate and more sustainable borough.”
The strategy also builds upon the success of an earlier pilot initiative involving Magic Breakfast, a charity that supports provision of breakfast clubs in 20 Wandsworth schools. Key elements of the school food strategy:
- Using fresh, seasonal produce, always sourced responsibly, as locally as possible and with high quality standards
- Consulting pupils about the food served, taking their views into account
- Engaging schools in food education, cooking and growing activities
- Paying catering staff fairly, with the London living wage as a minimum
- Embedding sustainable practices in service provision and minimising the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the service