East Ayrshire Council puts more good food on the table by achieving Food for Life Served Here Gold award for the fourteenth year running
Catering staff at East Ayrshire Council are celebrating as they have maintained their Food for Life Served Here Gold award for another year, ensuring that pupils in 55 premises, including early childhood centres and primary schools, in the area continue to enjoy fresh, local and sustainable school meals.
The hard work and dedication of all involved has once again been recognised by the widely respected and independently assessed scheme led by Soil Association Scotland, which is funded by Scottish Government.
The Food for Life Served Here award recognises and rewards local authorities in Scotland that serve school meals that are freshly prepared, using free range eggs and high-welfare meat, and free from genetically modified ingredients and undesirable additives. Gold level award holders spend at least 15 percent of the ingredients budget for their service on organic produce, source a significant proportion of ingredients from UK producers, and take further steps to make healthy eating easier.
East Ayrshire Council first achieved the Food for Life Served Here Gold award in 2008, and is now serving thousands of fresh, local and sustainable school meals a day. Pupils enjoy meals including homemade soup, pork sausages with creamy mashed potato, chickpea curry and rice, and Scottish salmon stir fry. Organic milk is supplied by Mossgiel Organic Farm in Mauchline, East Ayrshire. South Ayrshire-based We hae meat supply meat products including pork sausages, steak burgers and ham.
As well as successfully renewing its Food for Life Served Here Gold Award, East Ayrshire Council’s Fiona Murray, Development Chef, was recently named a Food for Life Scotland Ambassador. As part of her action plan to promote the good food movement within her local authority she is engaging with pupils, staff and parents through eating workshops, snack cooking sessions and food groups to make healthier snacks the easier choice in schools. This has begun with projects in Galstone Primary and St Sophia’s Primary, and will help students to boost their nutritional intake as well as energy levels, and in turn support their learning and wellbeing.
Councillor Graham Barton, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Children and Young People, Net Zero, Environment, Climate Change and Equalities and Inclusion said: “I am delighted that we have maintained our Food for Life Served Here Gold award for another year. Since 2008, the Council has recognised the connections between what we eat and learning, how food helps with our health and how we can support our local producers.
“Our approach also plays an important role in community wealth building (CWB), for which the Council has received funding to develop Scotland’s first regional approach to CWB through the Ayrshire Growth Deal. CWB has five core principles, which includes developing local supply chains of businesses that will support local employment and keep wealth in communities and ensuring a flow of investment within local communities. This means that we are committed to continuing to work with local businesses to support the local economy and to reduce our carbon footprint by continuing to source fresh local produce.”
Sarah Duley, Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland, said: "Congratulations to East Ayrshire for retaining their Food for Life Served Here Gold award for another year. This is no mean feat, particularly as the past two years have presented many additional challenges for caterers. Achieving the Food for Life Served Here Gold award shows the Council’s commitment over many years to providing a fantastic school meal service, especially the catering staff. We are delighted to recognise East Ayrshire Council for continuing to deliver freshly prepared, healthy and sustainable food on school plates, prioritising organic produce, and supporting Scottish food producers and suppliers.”