Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors leading the good food movement
An awards ceremony
Today a group of 22 catering staff from across Scotland have gathered at an event in Edinburgh to be awarded as Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors. Ambassadors have been selected from across the 18 local authorities in Scotland that hold the Food for Life Served Here Award, for their work within their schools and communities to push forward the ‘good food’ movement.
The ambassadors have come together to receive their certificates and share best practice at the event hosted by Soil Association Scotland and attended by Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Chris Ross, ASSIST Vice Chair, and Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland.
Driving change in the community
The aim of the Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors programme, which launched in November 2021, is to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of the revolution that’s going on behind the scenes in school meals. Catering staff have battled against the odds over the last couple of years facing unprecedented challenges, from the pandemic to supply chain shortages and price rises, all in the name of getting healthy, sustainable and locally sourced food onto pupils' plates.
After taking part in a number of workshops, the ambassadors have created and set out on their own individual action plans within their local authority, from growing projects and cooking clubs for parents, to working with a student council that selects a monthly seasonal recipe for their school's menu. These projects are now underway, and the ambassadors will continue to champion good food in their communities.
The ambassador programme was set up by Food for Life Scotland (FFLS), run by Soil Association Scotland and funded by Scottish Government. FFLS supports local authorities to serve school meals that are good for pupils’ health, good for the environment and good for the local economy by supporting them to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award for their school meals service. This can be certified at three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Ambassador action plans include upgrading their FFLSH awards, and a range of other activities which align with award criteria, such as fostering stronger engagement with schools and local communities, working with local suppliers and reducing food waste.
One of our ambassadors, Donald McInnes, Catering Manager for West Dunbartonshire, set out to pilot whether his local authority could achieve the Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award in one of their secondary schools, Clydebank High School. Today we are announcing that the school has successfully achieved the award, showing that the ambassadors programme is already having impact.
Recognition for school caterers
As communities across Scotland continue to grapple with uncertainties, from climate change and the impact of the pandemic, to supply chain disruptions and the increased cost of living, the need to improve access to food that’s nutritious and freshly prepared, at the same time as being sustainably and locally produced, has never been more important.
Our Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors put their all into providing the best possible meals for Scotland’s young people every single day. We hope that we can recognise the achievements of these individuals to show what’s possible in school meals and inspire others to join in the mission of creating a ‘Good Food Nation’ in Scotland.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I would like to congratulate the newly awarded Food for Life Scotland Ambassadors who have been selected as a result of their commendable work within their schools, communities and local authorities.
“It’s great to see their achievements being recognised as we celebrate them as changemakers within our local communities.
“The Food for Life Scotland programme is continuing to make a big difference to the lives of many young people across the country. This wouldn’t have been achieved without the tireless efforts of our catering teams across the length and breadth of the country.
“With 26 million ‘Food for Life Served Here’ meals being served across Scotland every year, the positive impact is evident and the movement is no doubt set to grow further.”