Glasgow gets the bronze award
Scotland’s biggest local authority has received a bronze Food for Life Served Here award for its work to get fresh, local, sustainable food onto school plates. This is an impressive achievement and a key step on the road to achieving the goals of the Glasgow City Food Plan.
With around 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change coming from the food system, and last month’s IPCC report calling ‘code red for humanity,’ it is vital that public sector spending reflects the urgent need to tackle climate change.
Public procurement of sustainable and local food is one of the most effective ways to drive transformation in food production and supply, and to strengthen local economies.
The bronze Food for Life Served Here award, a mark of food quality for school meals accredited by Soil Association Scotland, means that everyday catering teams across the city work to ensure that a minimum of 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients.
Meals are also free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, and use free range eggs, higher welfare meat and ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources. This is no mean feat considering the complexity of Glasgow’s food system and that 34,000 award winning school meals are now served daily across 137 sites across the city.
Food for Life Scotland, funded by Scottish Government, supports local authorities to develop connections with local suppliers, while also working with catering teams to prepare nutritious meals from fresh ingredients. The project demonstrates how the public sector can take steps towards creating a ‘Good Food Nation.’
Glasgow City Council is working with local producers via suppliers such as McLays Foods, based in Glasgow. By buying Scottish produce supply chains are shortened, contributing to inclusive growth in the economy and helping local producers to supply sizeable public sector markets, increasing resilience to future market shocks.
Notably, the National Food Strategy for England positioned Food for Life Served Here as pioneering best practice in healthy and sustainable catering and recommended that Food for Life Served Here, or something similar, be made mandatory.
Glasgow is the 17th local authority in Scotland to achieve the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here award. Every day 135,000 Food for Life accredited meals are served across Scotland.
Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, said, “As Scotland gears up to host COP26, Glasgow achieving the Food for Life Served Here bronze award symbolises that change is possible. Public spending has real power to support ethical producers that have sustainability at the core of their business. With Glasgow added to the list, just over half of Scotland’s local authorities are now Food for Life Served Here award holders, their achievements demonstrating what’s possible to the other half.”
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skill and Early Years, Glasgow City Council said: “We are delighted to have received this external recognition for our continued commitment to providing the best possible school meals.
“It’s extremely important that our children and young people are given the opportunity of a healthy, nutritious and more sustainable lunch.
“This makes for better concentration, better learning and it means that the food our children are eating is full of goodness and sourced from local providers to help in tackling climate change.”
Mairi Gougeon,Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in achieving this significant milestone.
“The Food for Life programme has made a big difference to the lives of many young people across the country and as Scotland’s largest local authority, Glasgow City Council’s participation will have a huge impact on pupils and local producers.
“It will also contribute to our wider goals of becoming a good food nation, reducing inequality, and achieving net zero emissions by 2045.
“This is well-deserved recognition for the work done by the Council who are not only making sure that they are providing healthy and nutritious meals across their primary schools, but are now able to point to Food for Life as the framework that allows them to do so.
“I would urge other local authorities across Scotland to follow the example set by Glasgow City Council and join them on the journey to making Scotland a Good Food Nation.”