Jamie Oliver's schools project joins forces with early years food award


Two leading food education programmes, Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project, and the Soil Association’s Food for Life, have formed a new partnership giving nurseries and schools access to both for a single membership subscription.

Both programmes provide resources and practical guidance to schools and nurseries, helping incorporate food education into daily life for children.

The partnership means that the Kitchen Garden Project resources, which provide Jamie Oliver recipes, alongside lesson plans and curriculum-linked activities for primary schools, will be available through the Food for Life Schools and Early Years awards programme.

For the 1,500 schools and nurseries currently engaged in the programme, access to these additional digital resources will provide more options to support learning about nutrition and also guidance for practical activities, including cooking healthy meals and growing healthy food.

Schools and nurseries will also have the opportunity to take their activities to the next level by progressing through the Food for Life awards programme.

The Food for Life Early Years programme was launched this summer. Awarded settings, of which there are ten nurseries and children's centres, must provide freshly prepared, nutritious and well-sourced lunches for children and also encourage good social skills at meal times.

The nurseries also offer practical cooking and growing education for both children and parents, increasing knowledge of where food comes from and how to keep themselves healthy.

The evidenced-based programme was initially developed in 2007 with funding from The Big Lottery and has since worked with more than 5,000 schools. It is now commissioned by local authorities in England to support health and wellbeing priorities.

Independent evaluation of the awards programme’s ‘whole setting approach’ has shown its potential to have a positive impact on children’s diets.

Schools and nurseries are able to subscribe to support packages, which include access to online resources, support from a specialist team, their own personalised school ‘portal’ and a step-by-step online application system.

The award has also been cited in guidance for Ofsted inspectors produced by the School Food Plan, as a means of evidencing that settings are helping children to learn how to keep themselves healthy.

The relationship between the two organisations goes back more than ten years to 2005, when former school cook and Food for Life’s founder, Jeanette Orrey, inspired Jamie Oliver’s famous campaign to improve school dinners nationally.

His involvement in school food and his belief in the importance learning to cook and live healthily, led to the creation of the Kitchen Garden Project in November 2014.

The project which currently has nearly 600 member schools, aims to integrate growing and cooking into the school day. Resources include:

  • Recipes – with step-by-step photographic instructions
  • Curriculum-linked lesson plans and narratives
  • Curriculum-linked food growing activities
  • Nutrition summaries and linked lesson plans.

 

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Jamie Oliver said, ‘I'm so excited that my Kitchen Garden Project is joining forces with Food for Life – it means we can give more children access to great food education at school.

'I first met Jeanette back in 2000 when she was catering manager in a Nottinghamshire primary school – the brilliant work she was doing in her school kitchen inspired me to tackle school dinners up and down the UK.

'So much has been achieved since then, but there's still more to do, so I'm thrilled that 16 years later, we'll now be helping even more kids to grow, dig up, cook and eat beautiful, healthy food in schools all over the country.’

Jeanette Orrey added, ‘I couldn’t be happier about the news. Schools have made some incredibly positive changes to their food and food education in the last ten years, but with children’s health never far from the headlines, there’s still so much more we need to do.

'Working together means that we can offer even more support to schools and nurseries and help them create good food cultures which we hope will benefit children for many years to come.’

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