Totnes primary school wins award

Food for Life National Conference held on 13.02.2020.
The event included guest speakers, Henry Dimbleby & Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall, panel discussions, focused breakout sessions, interactive audience voting 
Photography by DFphotography / Danny Fitzpatrick

Blackawton Primary School, Totnes, have been awarded for their outstanding work through food with the inaugural Peter Melchett Award from the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme.

Blackawton has a fantastic all-round commitment to the Food for Life principles of good food and food education and have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to nurturing the health and wellbeing of their pupils.

Food for Life (FFL) works with over 5,000 schools across England to transform their food culture, supporting them to provide fresh, well-sourced and nutritious meals and improve their overall lunchtime experience. FFL schools help children, adults and teachers understand the importance of good nutrition and where their food comes from through practical cooking and growing activities, and farm visits. The Food for Life Served Here standards now ensure that 1.9 million meals are served daily that are environmentally friendly and locally sourced.

Peter Melchett was one of the founders of Food for Life and played a key role in transforming the food that young people eat in schools, and on the high street, in the UK. Peter’s impact means that children in over half of primary schools in the UK are eating higher standard school meals.

The Peter Melchett award, set up in honour of Peter’s incredible work, celebrates the ongoing, positive work happening in Food for Life schools across the country. The award was judged by a panel including co-founder of Food for Life, Jeanette Orrey MBE; Deputy CEO of Food and Farming at the Soil Association, James Cashmore and Dr Helen Crawley, Director of First Steps Nutrition.

Jeanette Orrey MBE commented: “It was an incredibly difficult decision to select our winning school from a high calibre of Food for Life schools. Our winner, Blackawton, were one of the first schools we worked within Food for Life in 2003, and it’s fantastic that they’ve won!”

Children at Blackawton are actively involved with food growing, cooking and sustainability at their school. Their voices and opinions are heard through the school council and they are empowered to contribute to change.

The school shows real enterprise in creating a school environment that supports good food and an ‘active day’ for children. The parents at Blackawton are engaged, supportive and all contribute; whether this is taking part in the School Nutrition Advisory Group, choosing school meals for their child, helping with cooking and gardening activities or contributing to the sell-out Blackawton School Cookbook.

Rachel Burris, Head of School, Blackawton Primary, said: “Blackawton Primary School are delighted to receive the inaugural Peter Melchett Award.
The impact of being part of Food for Life means that the children are much healthier in their food choices and continue to be part of the decision-making process.

“Achieving the Bronze Food for Life Award was a rigorous process but the impact and changes sit well within our school ethos; we are proud of our school meals.

Healthy food is an important part of the culture at Blackawton and we celebrate with food festivals, community lunches and regular cooking events.”

To mark their award win, Blackawton is planning to use the prize money to build a pizza oven within the school vegetable garden and will hold a celebratory community food event in May.

Blackawton is determined to continue their excellent work and are set into motion new plans to further establish their education on the important link between eating healthily and living sustainably. The school council recently conducted a survey about healthy school lunch boxes and they plan to create recipe cards so that all children leave primary school knowing how to cook a range of healthy meals. The school is also aiming to involve more people from the community in growing and enjoying their own vegetables.

Food for Life is thrilled to champion the stand-out, long-term work that Blackawton is doing to improve food education and appreciation amongst their pupils, through their combined focus on climate, health and nature.

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