Plymouth gets gold

21 February 2012

Plymouth City Council’s catering service has achieved the prestigious Food for Life Gold Catering Mark for all of the city's school meals [1]. Plymouth is the only local authority in-house caterer in England currently serving gold menus to all of its schools. In addition Plymouth University’s catering team will be awarded the Food for Life Bronze Catering Mark for 750 meals per day at two sites in the city. 120 attendees are expected, many of whom have already signed up to the Plymouth Food Charter. 

The announcement will be made at an event to mark the launch of Plymouth’s Sustainable Food City Action Plan on Thursday, 23 February. The Action Plan, to be unveiled by Food Plymouth [2], will provide the framework and guidance for healthy and sustainable food to drive and support a thriving local economy [3]. Attendees will include 20 local exhibitors, who will showcase exciting new developments around food in the city.

Vivien Pengelly, leader of Plymouth City Council, who will launch the plan said:
“'Plymouth City Council are very pleased to support this new Sustainable Food City Plymouth Action Plan. It is important as it lays out a clear framework to support a thriving local food economy, with far reaching social and environmental benefits. We are also very proud that the Council's school catering services have now achieved Gold Food for Life Catering Mark standard. They are showing real leadership on these important issues by supporting; local producers and businesses, along with the health and well-being of our school children.”

Emma Noble, co-director of the Food for Life Partnership said:
“This fantastic achievement means that 8,000 young people in Plymouth are eating some of the best quality schools meals in the country and proves the Council’s commitment to tackling health inequalities and sustainability. There’s no reason other local authorities shouldn’t follow suit.” [4]

Jenny Bushrod, Director of Procurement and Sustainability at Plymouth University said:
“We are delighted to support this important Action Plan launch, which through working together will support Plymouth to achieve all its sustainable food ambitions. The University identifies closely with each of these ambitions and will look to play its part in supporting and encouraging others to support this Action Plan.”

Commenting on their achievement, Brad Pearce, Education Catering Manager at Plymouth City Council said:
“We’re delighted that our commitment to serving fresh, local and organic food has been recognised by the gold Food for Life Catering Mark. As our meal numbers continue to increase we know that the use of fresh, local, seasonal and organic ingredients is making a real difference to our customers and the perception of the City’s school food service as high quality and incredibly good value. It’s fantastic to be recognised with this award but, more importantly, it’s great to know that we’re making a real difference and improving the health and education of the children and young people of Plymouth.”



For more information contact:
Traci Lewis, Food Plymouth Coordinator, 07870 26 8654,
Christine Williams, 0117 987 4575 or visit

Notes to Editors:


[1] The Food for Life Catering Mark
The Catering Mark is a unique scheme which recognises restaurants and caterers who serve fresh food which is free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare. The Catering Mark is open to all types of restaurants and caterers. The bronze, silver and gold tiers offer a step-by-step route to serving more freshly prepared, locally produced, seasonal and organic food. Caterers with the gold Catering Mark use a wide range of organic ingredients and source half of their ingredients from the local area. 475,000 Food for Life Catering Mark accredited meals are served per day - almost 100 million per year.

[2] Sustainable Food City: Plymouth Action Plan Launch event, 
10.30am – 2.30pm, 23rd February 2012, Registration from 10am
The event is supported by NHS Plymouth, Plymouth University, Plymouth City Centre Company, Making Local Food Work, Food for Life Partnership, Tamar View Fruiterers
Speakers will include: Council Leader Vivien Pengelley, Jenny Bushrod, Director of Procurement and Sustainability at Plymouth University; Clint Jones, Plymouth City Centre Company Manager; Debra Lapthorne, Joint Director of Public Health for NHS Plymouth and Plymouth City Council (PCC), Stephen Barrett, Bistro One, Brad Pearce, PCC School Catering Manager, Cliff Edwards, Brook Green Centre of Learning.

[3] The Food Plymouth Partnership, which is led by Plymouth City Council, NHS Plymouth and Plymouth University, and coordinated by the Soil Association, represents over 15 public, private and community sector organizations who have come together to champion healthy and sustainable food as a way to bring positive changes for the city. In February 2011 the Plymouth Food Charter was launched, which aims to drive positive measurable change through five key areas - a thriving economy; health and well being; resilient and close knit communities; life long learning and skills; climate change and the environment. The Plymouth Food Charter aims to improve health and wellbeing for all and to create a more resilient and sustainable city.


[4] The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising schools meals, reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring families to cook and grow food. The initiative is funded by the Big Lottery Fund until March 2012 and led by the Soil Association, bringing together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust.

[5] About the Soil Association
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who observed a direct connection between the health of the soil, food, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for planet-friendly food and farming with around 27,000 members. Its certification subsidiary, Soil Association Certification Ltd, certifies over 80% of organic farming and food processing in the UK.

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