From the editor
It’s the first ever International School Meals Day today (8 March), a result of an ideas swap between the UK and the USA on how to promote healthy eating practices in young people. March also happens to be our food education issue, taking a peek at the future of school meals, up-skilling parent’s cookery skills and long-term Government intervention.
And in just over a week’s time, there’ll be more to come on these thoughts, as the second Children’s Food Trust conference gets underway in London.
It’s been some years since calls for improvements came into public dialogue, but that was pre-recession. Since then, we’ve become worse off. Food prices have gone in the wrong direction, particularly at a time when many are experiencing stagnated salaries and job losses. We’re getting unhealthier; England is still achieving its reputation as the fat man of Europe, and apparently we’re dying younger than our continental neighbours.
It’s all intrinsic. Teaching kids where their food comes from not only makes good sense, but it’s good for their health. The Food Revolution, part of the Jamie Oliver Foundation, released startling statistics last year that claimed 20% of Australian children knew not of how pasta was made, with a bizarre suggestion that it came from animals. So you can begin to see that where knowledge is skipped, in the eyes of a child food merely comes out of a box and off a supermarket shelf. But how will they ever know to question it if they’re not equipped in the first place?
There are some fantastic initiatives tackling all these issues that quite frankly, must be giving Government a headache when trying to form cohesion. Because inevitably, some of this joined-up thinking is needed. Private initiatives are great, but it means that every local authority or every school is potentially doing something different. The School Food Plan is touring UK schools and undertaking its own learning curve to find out who’s doing what, how, and what makes it work. The end result to be delivered later this year is likely to be fascinating. Let’s hope top marks are deserved all around.