Food for Life Scotland has launched its Public Sector Expansion Pilot in Glasgow to bring fresh, local and sustainable meals to new public sector settings across the city, with the aim of scaling the programme in other areas of Scotland in the future, thanks to increased funding from Scottish Government.
Currently, Food for Life Scotland (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 (FFLSH) award for their school meals service. This can be certified at three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
During the one-year pilot, FFLS will research expanding into other public sector settings, including the NHS, prisons, care homes, further and higher education settings, and council-run leisure and culture facilities. A combination of place-based activity in Glasgow and national intelligence gathering will provide a scalable framework for bringing Food for Life to other parts of Scotland in the future.
The Scottish Government is supporting this expansion as part of its manifesto commitment to "increase the use of healthy Scottish produce and explore how to embed a Food for Life approach in the new National Care Service, in the NHS, in prisons and in further and higher education sectors".
With no sign of easing on the cost-of-living crisis, it's critical that we continue working towards a fairer, more resilient food system to make sure that it supports and provides for everyone. The FFLSH award gives local authorities and public sector settings a framework through which they can achieve this. Public procurement of sustainable, local and climate-friendly food provides a clear path to drive a transformation in food production and supply.
The City of Glasgow is taking a lead in delivering local policies that tackle the negative impact of food on the climate. Glasgow City Council already holds the FFLSH Bronze award across its 130 primary schools and 7 ASN schools, and the Council were also early signatories and key supporters of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration. The city is also home to a flourishing cross-sector food partnership. The Glasgow Food Policy Partnership brings together a range of public and private sector partners such as the NHS, the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, and the Council. Its comprehensive City Food Plan lays out how the Partnership will improve food in the city under key themes, including increased local sourcing and low carbon food in public sector catering.
Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, said: "We're excited about this opportunity to help bring fresh, local and sustainable school meals to more of Scotland's public sector. Working closely with existing Food for Life Served Here award holders, we've seen how the hard work of local authorities in Scotland means school caterers are leading the way in delivering good food in the public sector. With these values now embedded in the City of Glasgow's food culture, it's a fantastic time to build upon this success and deliver the benefits of the Food for Life programme in new settings."
Stephen Sawers, Head of Catering and Facilities Management, Glasgow City Council, said: "At Glasgow City Council, we are passionate about providing the best quality food for the city's children through the Food for Life Served Here award. Achieving the award has provided us with a solid platform upon which we can build, and this expansion is a great opportunity to continue working with Food for Life Scotland to bring more good food to Glasgow that will improve health, support the environment and benefit the economy. We're keen to continue working in partnership with the Food for Life Scotland team to set out what else we can do to further support sustainable food being procured, prepared and served in Glasgow."
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: "I am pleased that Food for Life Scotland is expanding its work through this pilot. The programme is already making a significant difference across the country by working closely with local authority catering teams to deliver fresh, local and sustainable school meals that make the most of ingredients grown, reared and produced in Scotland. This pilot is an excellent opportunity to bring these benefits to more of the public sector, and provide learning for the future."
Food for Life Scotland is now seeking to engage with those working in public sector catering and procurement in Glasgow. If you work in public sector settings in Glasgow, such as local authority sites, higher and further education or the NHS, and would like to learn more about how Food for Life Scotland can support you to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award, please get in touch with Sarah Gowanlock, Project Officer, Food for Life Scotland (firstname.lastname@example.org).