Ten Years of Food for Life in Highland
Fergus Ewing MSP joined catering staff at Central Primary School in Inverness during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight to present The Highland Council’s tenth consecutive Food for Life Served Here award for their fresh, local, sustainable school meals.
Award-Winning School Meals
School caterers across Highland are celebrating after the council achieved the Food for Life Served Here award for its primary school meals for the tenth year in a row!
Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, presented the award to Aileen Wylie, Cook in Charge at Central Primary School, Inverness, recognising the council’s ongoing commitment to local and sustainable school meals.
The Highland Council serves 10,740 Food for Life meals a day across its 155 certified primary schools and nurseries. Six sites – Cradlehall, Drakies, Holm, Lochaline, Rosebank and Smithton – hold the Silver Food for Life Served Here award, which means that at least 5% of their ingredients spend is on organic produce, while all other schools and nurseries have the Bronze Award.
Image: : Fergus Ewing MSP (centre) and Sarah Duley, Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland (far right) present the tenth consecutive Food for Life Served Here award to catering staff and pupils from Central Primary School, Inverness.
Local Sourcing Success
Despite the challenges of serving Scotland’s largest council area, which includes some of the most sparsely populated areas of the UK, The Highland Council have been successfully sourcing local produce for their school meals for a decade.
With menus updated every six months for seasonal variance, and regular consultation with pupils and staff to improve the food choices and recipes, the freshly-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals on offer in Highland include many favourites.
The Food for Life Scotland programme works with local authorities to get more Scottish food on plates, shortening supply chains and supporting thriving local economies. Pupils in Highland primary schools regularly enjoy:
- beef, pork, lamb and venison from John M Munro, Highland Butcher, all sourced within 50 miles of Dingwall;
- Highland free range eggs and Graham’s Dairy organic milk; and
- local fruit and vegetables from Swansons Fruit Company, Inverness, including potatoes from Nairn and cabbages from Kirkhill.
Image: Veg box from Swanson's Food Wholesalers, who have been supplying Highland Council with locally sourced fruit and veg for seven years.
Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said: “Great to see Highland Council being recognised for such long standing commitment to the Food For Life programme, which has made such a difference to the lives of many young people across the country, by guaranteeing that school children can access delicious, healthy and sustainable food that’s been grown, sourced and produced in Scotland.
“Food for Life is integral to Scotland’s ambitions to become a Good Food Nation.”
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee at The Highland Council, said: “I am delighted that we have continued to maintain our commitment to sourcing and using locally produced foods. Offering our pupils a range of freshly cooked and nutritionally balanced meals is a Council priority to help our children enjoy a varied diet and make healthy choices and the Food for Life Served Here award reinforces our sustainable approach to school meal production.”
Sarah Duley, Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland, said: "Huge congratulations to The Highland Council. Maintaining the Food for Life Served Here award for ten years in a row is a fantastic achievement, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, from the catering staff to the Councillors.
“Highland’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 the council’s continued commitment to providing fresh and healthy school food, and their support of local producers.”