The Soil Association comments on research released today by the British Nutrition Foundation

03 June 2013

 Research released today by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) reveals that nearly a third (29 per cent) of primary school children surveyed think that cheese comes from plants, one in ten secondary school children believe that tomatoes grow under the ground, and nearly one in five (18 per cent) primary school children say that fish fingers come from chicken. 

As a result, the BNF have called for a national framework and guidance for food and nutrition education to support the learning needs of children and young people.

Food for Life Partnership Director Libby Grundy said:
We know some children and families are becoming detached from how their food is produced and don’t always have the skills and knowledge needed to take active control over what they eat. The British Nutrition Foundation survey reinforces the urgent need for the government to support programmes that are already actively addressing these issues.

“The Food for Life Partnership works with schools throughout the country to develop children’s understanding of where their food comes from through cooking and growing food, visiting farms and increasing take up of healthy school meals.

“Independent evaluation has demonstrated that this ‘whole school’ approach to food education has significant impact on developing healthier eating habits. Following participation in the programme [1] the proportion of primary school age children reporting eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day saw a 28% increase and the proportion reporting eating four or more portions increasing by 30%
." [2]

Headteacher of the Oval Primary, a Food for Life partnership school in Birmingham, Rachel Chahal says,
Food has such a huge impact on the children. Learning about what they eat – or should eat – is just so important for their physical, personal and intellectual development. Children at The Oval understand where food comes from, not because they’ve read about it, but because they’ve actually seen it first-hand.” For further details please contact Jo Wild for the full case study.

The Food for Life Partnership currently works with over 4,500 schools across England, supporting them to provide fresh, well-sourced and healthy meals at lunchtimes. It also gives children and their families the opportunity to make better food choices through increasing their cooking and growing skills and gaining a better understanding of where their food comes from.

The national programme is led by the Soil Association, bringing together the practical expertise of Focus on Food, Garden Organic, the Health Education Trust and the Royal Society for Public Health.

For further information, please contact:
Food for Life Partnership: Jo Wild - Communication and Schools Awards Manager - 07900 683 956 / 0117 987 /@FFLPartnership
FFLP school case studies and access to head teachers and public health commissioners for interview and quotations are available.

Soil Association: Natasha Collins-Daniel - Press Office Manager – 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380 / @SoilAssociation

[1] Orme et al, 2011, p107
[2] Orme et al, 2011, p114
[4] To find out more about the Food for Life Partnership and download the media pack, visit
[5] The Food for Life Partnership Project evaluation Find out more about the impact of the Food for Life Partnership in its first five years of funding by the Big Lottery Fund:


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