Food for Thought, a not-for-profit caterer owned by 17 Merseyside schools, has been awarded the Soil Association's Silver Food for Life Catering Mark for its healthy, climate-friendly school meals.
Set up in 2003 ahead of Jamie Oliver's school food campaign, Food for Thought brought together 17 schools to improve the quality of food that was being served by underpaid and de-skilled staff.
Food for Thought increased staff pay and hours; reintroduced cooking fresh produce from scratch, and eradicated all processed food from the school menu.
Operating in some of the poorest areas of Liverpool, Food for Thought has also kept school meal prices in the majority of its schools at £1.60 since 2005.
Jan Potter, head teacher at Belle Vale Primary School and chairperson of Food For Thought, said: "This is a really important award for the high standards we have set since we formed our not-for-profit company in 2003.
"Now we can be proud of having the best and lowest priced school meals service in Liverpool, owned by head teachers whose schools not only have a share in any surplus created but can also use this to directly benefit their pupils."
The Food for Life Catering Mark is an award that offers a step-by-step route to providing freshly prepared, locally produced, seasonal and organic food. Open to caterers in all sectors, the Catering Mark has three tiers: bronze, silver and gold. The silver award means Food for Thought uses locally sourced produce, which is freshly prepared every day and does not contain any undesirable additives or hydrogenated fats.
Meat is farm-assured as a welfare minimum, and free-range eggs, certified organic products and fish certified by the Marine Conservation Society are used.
By Janie Stamford
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