🏆 FFLSH since 2022 🏫 5,800 meals daily in 33 primaries
East Dunbartonshire Council achieved the Food for Life Served Here Bronze award in December 2022. This is recognition that the Council is serving food that’s good for pupils’ health, good for the environment and good for the local economy across each of their 33 primary schools - that’s around 5,800 Food for Life meals served every single day.
Councillor Paul Ferretti, Convener of the Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets Committee said, “It’s widely recognised that access to a balanced, healthy and nourishing school meal helps pupils to learn, play and engage with their peers. It increases concentration, improves behaviour and provides the nutrition children need to grow and develop.
“At East Dunbartonshire Council we are committed to providing our young people with a healthy school meal that helps shape eating and drinking habits and encourages positive eating choices.
“We were able to meet the criteria for the Bronze Award in all 33 of our Primary Schools - which is a fantastic achievement."
East Dunbartonshire’s achievement was marked with a celebratory event at Thomas Muir Primary School in Bishopbriggs. The event was attended by Councillor Paul Ferretti, members of East Dunbartonshire Council’s Facilities Management team, local supplier McLays and the Food for Life Scotland team. Pupils learnt all about where ingredients from their Christmas lunches were grown, with carrots from Laurencekirk in Aberdeen, potatoes from Upper Dysart in Montrose and parsnips and sprouts from West Garleton in Dunbar.
“This is well-deserved recognition for the work done by East Dunbartonshire Council’s catering teams who are dedicated to serving high quality meals in local schools.”
Mairi Gougeon, Rural Affairs Secretary, Scottish Government
“It is great to see East Dunbartonshire achieve their Food for Life Served Here bronze award. We have been working with them in collaboration with local producers to get more food on school plates that’s been grown, sourced and produced in Scotland. We also work with schools in Glasgow and when changes are applied at scale across local authority schools, this can have a huge impact on strengthening the local economy.”
Andrew McLay, Operations Director, McLays Foods
East Dunbartonshire Council is working with local producers via suppliers such as McLays Foods and George Carruthers & Sons, both based in Glasgow.
Gemma Magee, FM Lead, Catering at East Dunbartonshire Council said, “To gain the award we worked with suppliers to understand the provenance of the produce we were purchasing. As part of this we’ve had suppliers come into schools to give talks to pupils about how their food is grown, and the Catering and Education departments are joining forces to add learning about food into the curriculum.”
By purchasing Scottish produce supply chains are shortened, contributing to inclusive growth in the economy and helping local producers supply produce to public sector markets.
Gemma Magee explained, “We are upskilling our catering staff through training sessions with the Food for Life Scotland team and have developed school menus to increase the percentage of school meals freshly prepared from raw ingredients. Going for the award also encouraged catering teams to get more involved with pupils through speaking about the foods being served. It’s amazing how it’s given staff a new lease of life and we now see them wanting to get involved with menu planning, and creating and trialling new recipes.
“The advice I would give to other local authority catering teams would be to work hard and persevere. Achieving the award, and the changing attitudes that come from that, make it worth it. The positive sentiment towards our department from both parents and the public is tenfold what it was before. Staff within catering teams develop so much more confidence in what they are serving and cooking. This generates a better working environment, builds connections with the education department and creates a positive lunch time experience for the pupils."