Since 2012 our membership has built a community of schools that unite with the shared mission to teach children about food for their health and happiness. We would therefore like to raise money so that we’re able to offer free membership to schools and a series of member benefits that children can look forward to in the academic year ahead.
Owing to Covid-19 many of our food education programmes have been postponed or cancelled. Children are missing out on experiences delivered in the summer term: food-growing with horticulturists, cooking with restaurant chefs, farm visits and visits from beekeepers! All enrich the lives of children and positively influence their relationship with food.
We feel it is more essential than ever that schools should continue to benefit from these programmes in the academic year. The upheaval from Covid-19 has put schools under a huge amount of pressure, and even delivering core lessons is challenging. However, it is increasingly clear that diet and weight issues need to play a huge part of the covid-19 response, and therefore we must not let schools step back from providing healthy school lunches and teaching children about food. This is a critical time to help schools keep food education on the agenda.
In addition to having priority access to our exciting enterprise programmes, member schools benefit from the following hands-on learning opportunities:
- Cooking Ideas: Students try new foods, learn about the importance of sustainable ingredients, and are exposed to career opportunities through cooking with an experienced chef in their school. (Photo: Chef Tom Aikens at Grey Court School)
- Kitchen Garden Ideas: Students learn how to cook with what they grow in their school gardens. The chefs are challenged to create a dish from whatever they find growing within the school grounds. Students harvest their produce and witness the transformation of their freshly picked fruit and veg into a delicious dish. (Photo: Petersham Nurseries)
- Growing Ideas: By promoting the gardening efforts of our member schools, we inspire other schools to experiment with growing fruit and veg in their school gardens. Non-member schools learn what is achievable and encourages them to teach students about health benefits of growing their own fruit and veg.
Many schools that participate in our programmes are disadvantaged, with limited access to outdoor space and few opportunities to cook from scratch. COVID-19 is exacerbating this situation, as family budgets are stretched and outdoor activity limited. Once the current crisis is over, our programmes aim to redress this balance, giving students an understanding of where their food comes from and providing them with the key life skills of growing and cooking.
What our schools are saying
"Our relationship with School Food Matters has benefitted our children enormously; they now have healthier and yummier school meals, a vegetable patch, visits by inspirational chefs and, to top it all, a trip to a farm to see how their food is produced. This is a wonderful charity with the interests of pupils at the heart of all it does." - Head Teacher
"Chef Simon Boyle's visit has allowed students to become more skilled at culinary practice and prepare them for an independent life after sixth form. Rather than surviving on noodles at university, they will now have a little bit more confidence to cook a basic meal.” – School Careers Leader
“It’s really brought the learning to life for our pupils. You can’t beat hands on practical experience.” – Primary School Teacher
"I really like making soup and bread. I went home and made ciabatta with my mum and helping out with cooking lots more at home.” - Student
“My child is more excited to tell me about the vegetables they’ve grown and eaten at school than the ice-cream I have for them at the end of the day” - Parent
“I liked going to pick the strawberries at the farm because it was something new. Living in the city, you don’t get the chance to go to the countryside so it was great to go and see it”- Student
“I liked the cooking very much. I learned how to use a knife and I’m usually very fussy about eating vegetables but I learned that if you try them, you might like them” – Student
What our chefs are saying
“I've been working with School Food Matters since 2009 and in that time I've cooked with hundreds of children in five different London boroughs. Every Cooking Ideas session is an absolute pleasure as I get to enjoy first hand the magic of food education; how an hour of practical cooking can ignite an interest in food - how it's cooked and where it comes from - and inspire children to have a go at home.” - Chef Tom Aikens
“It’s a pleasure to invite these young people into our kitchen and a wonderful opportunity to share our skills and passion with the next generation.” - Damian Clisby, Restaurant Director at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden
Your donation will help us to help schools get the very best school meal service and allow us to deliver exciting hands-on food education programmes to thousands of children.
Here's an idea of how your donation will help:
- £50 covers the cost of delivering a whole school assembly about sustainable food
- £100 gets a chef to a school to cook with 15 children
- £150 will send a gardener to a school to run a food growing session
- £250 allows us to visit a school and help them sort out their school meal service
- £500 delivers training to school governors about the importance of a good school food culture
- £1,000 will get a class of 30 children out onto a farm!
What are we here for?
We all need to eat. For children and young people, equal access to healthy food is a basic necessity. Food skills and good nutrition support mental and social development. Shared food experiences promote social skills, support wellbeing and help children to realise their potential.
That’s why School Food Matters will continue on its mission to teach children about food and to improve children’s access to healthy, sustainable food during their time at school.