National School Meals Week (NSMW) coincided with COP27, so LACA developed themes to showcase important environmental messages as well as highlighting the great work school caterers were doing to reduce their impact on the planet.
The ‘Together we make a difference’ theme was evolved and has been very well received and supported. There were new menu launches in Lancashire schools, cookery and sustainability lessons in Hampshire with HC3S, Mellors and Dolce spent a week reducing emissions and promoting environmental issues, SIPS catering kitchens made their own environmental pledges and across the country children were trying new and innovative plant-based dishes.
Chair of LACA Brad Pearce said, “We know school meals have such a positive effect on children’s attainment and development, but schools are also making a huge impact on green issues, lessening their impact on the planet as together, we tackle environmental issues such as reducing food waste, reducing food miles and increasing the amount of plant-based foods children eat. As chair of LACA these are issues that are very dear to my heart.”
Important conversations took place on the Friday for VIP day as MPs and Councillor’s across the country visited schools in their constituencies for lunch. Sharon Hodgson MP, a great ambassador for the service rallied the call for support resulting in MP involvement at all levels.
LACA believes it is important that MPs know just how good today's school food is and how important it is in terms of health and wellbeing, for children to have a nutritious, two-course lunch in the middle of the school day.
There were five themes throughout NSWM, including:
1. Together, we make a difference launch day - Promoting environmental issues and asking children to make a pledge to change
2. Go green lunch – Showcased plant-based menus and what caterers are doing to get children to engage and eat more
3. Our local lunch – Roast dinner day showcasing the best of local British produce, reducing food miles
4. Eat more, waste less – Educating children on reducing food waste, recycling and composting
5. VIP Day – Where VIP’s and local MP came for lunch, also a day where certificates
During the week there was a lot of support for the extension of free school meals, with musician Zain Malik reaching out to the Government and Tom Kerridge speaking out at an event on his support for more people to qualify.