Ten Years of Gold in East Ayrshire
East Ayrshire Council is boosting local business and reducing food miles with fresh, healthy, and sustainable school meals, which have once again been recognised with the Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Served Here award.
East Ayrshire Council is the longest-standing Food for Life Served Here Gold award holder in the UK, having held the award for its primary school meals since 2008. The local authority serves up 5,100 Food for Life accredited meals a day across its 40 certified primary schools, 3,600 of which are free school meals.
The Food for Life Scotland programme is run by the Soil Association Scotland and supported by the Scottish Government, supporting local authorities to put more local food on school dinner plates and serve freshly-prepared, sustainable meals.
The Food for Life Served Here award recognises and rewards councils that are serving food made from fresh ingredients, using free-range eggs and high-welfare meat, and free from genetically modified ingredients and undesirable additives. Holders of the Gold award also source at least 15% organic ingredients for their service.
Late last year, EAC Catering Manager Doreen Sharp was announced as the 2018 Food for Life Served Here Schools Champion at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.
Doreen, who has been school cook at Nether Robertland primary school for 30 years, was one of four nominees shortlisted for the Schools Award. She said: “Serving Food for Life standard meals comes as second nature, and parents have come to expect a high quality.” Doreen emphasised the importance of locally sourced, fresh produce, and East Ayrshire Council are proud of their close bond with suppliers. “I know all their names, even the names of the drivers,” said Doreen.
East Ayrshire pupils regularly enjoy:
- North Sea white fish supplied by Pieroni & Sons, a family run business based in Ayr with over 72 years experience in the Scottish fish trade;
- Finest Quality Scotch Beef from Ayrshire butchers Pollok Williamson;
- Organic milk from Graham’s Family Dairy;
- Award-winning Isle of Arran cheddar from Torrylinn Creamery, supplied by First Milk Cheese Co.;
- Free range eggs from Corrie Mains Farm near Mauchline, East Ayrshire.
Councillor Gordon Jenkins, Cabinet member with responsibility for management and resources at East Ayrshire Council, congratulated staff on their achievement. He said: “Our school meal service is widely recognised for taking the lead in providing high quality, locally sourced meals to pupils across East Ayrshire.
“Food for Life has transformed our school menus, our catering service and our procurement agreements and this continued accreditation is real testament to the hard work and commitment shown by employees and suppliers to deliver the very best for the young people of East Ayrshire.”
Sarah Duley, Food for Life Scotland Programme Manager at Soil Association Scotland, said: "Huge congratulations to East Ayrshire Council. Maintaining the Food for Life Served Here Gold award for over a decade is a fantastic achievement, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, from the catering staff to the Councillors.
“East Ayrshire’s long term success shows that it is possible for Scotland’s public sector to be a beacon of good food. We’re delighted to celebrate East Ayrshire’s continued commitment to providing fresh and healthy school food, and their support of local producers.”