Glasgow City Council recognised an opportunity to fulfil some of their strategic objectives through the Food for Life Served Here programme and began their journey towards achieving the bronze Food for Life Served Here award in 2019. Focused on improving their services, they could see how applying for the award would build upon the goals of the Glasgow City Food Plan and the concept of Scotland becoming a Good Food Nation, as well as other strategic goals including health, environment and the economy.
As Scotland’s largest local authority, ensuring that healthier and more sustainable food reaches school plates is no mean feat, but the Council’s catering teams fully embraced the challenge.
Stephen Sawers, Head of Catering & Facilities Management, who led the Council’s application, says: “One of the Council’s main aims is for Glasgow to be a healthier city – we are a key player in the Glasgow City Food Plan, which includes tackling food poverty and childhood obesity. Our school meals service can now play a major part in ensuring children have access to healthy balanced meals. We also hope the experience will instil good habits and behaviours in children which will continue into adulthood. Over time, this could have an extremely positive impact on their overall health and well-being.”
This year sees Glasgow host COP26, the UN climate change conference. The Council’s view is that COP26 and Food for Life Served Here should work in synergy. The Council is keen to do what it can to mitigate climate change and the Food for Life commitment to using as much locally sourced produce as possible stood out for them. By reducing the number of miles food travels, local authorities can support a healthier environment and boost their local economy. They noted that the Food for Life programme provides a clear route to supporting sustainable food suppliers and local production.
Stephen adds, “The Food for Life Scotland team were very proactive, and we shared the same commitment to working together. I was very impressed with their professionalism and would highly recommend the Food for Life Served Here application process to other local authorities in Scotland.
“All of us in Glasgow found we had great support and guidance. Our staff felt fully engaged and involved and took a great deal of pride in working towards the bronze level award. I cannot thank my teams enough for their dedication, which has got us to where we are today, celebrating this great achievement.”
Glasgow City Council intends to continue its journey with Food for Life Served Here, aiming for a
silver award next. Stephen says: “We are passionate about providing the best quality food for
the city’s children. This will be particularly important as we move towards the rollout of
Universal Free School Meals for all primary school children over the next year. We are looking
forward to the next steps.”
Gillian Pagani, Operations Support Manager and Jean Miller, Project Co-ordinator, Glasgow City Council, have been awarded as Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors for Glasgow City.
The pair have embarked on a journey to progress the council’s Food for Life Served Here Award from bronze to silver. This involves making healthy eating easier for schools across Glasgow, expanding the range of locally sourced, seasonal food on the menu and converting five percent of spend to be on organic produce. They are working with schools to set up a Good Food Group in every primary school to promote healthy eating, as well as establish grow gardens, allotments and projects to reduce food waste. This will in turn feed into the broader aims of the Glasgow City Food Plan.