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Alexia Robinson shares ideas for British Food Fortnight

6th Jul 2021 - 07:00
Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food
Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food which organises the event, has ideas to help schools make the most of the event.

British Food Fortnight (18 September- 3 October) is a great opportunity to get school children excited about the wonderful food we produce in this country. It also offers local authorities lots of opportunities to promote healthy eating, reduce procurement costs and support local businesses.

The event is a proven catalyst for increasing the uptake of school meals. Local Authorities in Hampshire, Kent, Shropshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire have all worked with their school catering providers to run British and local-themed menu promotions in schools during the event. As a result of their efforts, uptake has increased by between 8% and 50%.

Here are a few ideas of how you can take part:

  • Produce a British themed school lunch and produce menu cards detailing where the food has been sourced for children to take home to parents.
  • Introduce flexible menus that allow you to focus on in-season products that are often available at competitive prices in order to achieve value for money. Specify low food miles in your tenders as a way of contributing to reducing your local authority’s carbon footprint.
  • Use British Food Fortnight as an opportunity to find new suppliers, source more sustainably and receive publicity for doing so.
  • Consider forming a partnership with other public organisations in your local authority area in order to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
  • Promote what you are doing: the public and the media are particularly interested in how much British food the Government sources Promote your participation in the national food promotion by displaying POS material using the British Food Fortnight logo or Union Jack on menus and in restaurants.
  • Link up with a local farmer or producer. Ask them to visit the school or organise an away day visit to the farm so the children can see the farm to plate story.
  • The school catering manager or chef could speak to pupils about the menu and where the food has been sourced from; or even give a cooking demonstration if facilities allow.
  • Make bunting, with flags alternative between Union flags and photos of food grown in the local area. Decorate the classrooms and hallways to help people get into the spirit.
  • Create a British Food Fortnight school recipe book and sell it to raise school funds.
  • If there is outside space, use British Food Fortnight as an opportunity to create a school allotment where pupils can experience growing their own food.
  • Encourage children to research the food in their local area with their parents. Set up a local food trail with options for places to visit on the weekend, e.g. pick-your-own centres and farm shops.

A parent at Fochriw School in Wales, part of the Caerphilly Local Authority, gives an idea of the sort impact schools can have:

“My son really enjoyed taking part in British Food Fortnight. He has learnt so much about British food and where it comes from. He’s been so enthusiastic coming home and talking about it. It’s been lovely to see British food being promoted and he’s had a great time taking part in the activities at school, especially Breakfast Club.

“The healthy eating message is so important to us and this fortnight has been a fantastic opportunity to discuss this at home. I hope we can take part in this initiative next year.”

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Written by
Edward Waddell