Free membership of Food for Life programme

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Going for Gold: The healthy tuck shop has become a popular attraction at Overdale Junior School, as has the school’s garden – both crucial factors in the school’s recent Gold Food for Life award (images supplied)

The Food for Life initiative has extended its free Covid-19 lockdown membership offer until the October half-term.


A national school healthy eating programme, Food for Life is run by the Soil Association and offers a range of resources to help “reconnect” pupils with where their food comes from.

Curriculum-linked resources include growing and cooking activities and there are a range of “Covid-safe” ideas for pupils or classes to try – in school or at home.

Other curriculum tools and materials include the Jamie Oliver Kitchen Garden Project, which is designed to get pupils cooking, growing and eating food in school. The resources can also be shared with parents who are home-educating.

Food for Life boasts a network of more than 4,500 schools across England and can also offer support to schools wishing to overhaul their lunch time experience for pupils.

Overdale Junior School in Leicester has recently become only the second school in the country to be awarded the Gold Food for Life Award.

The school began its journey seven years ago and in that time has timetabled cooking for all pupils, expanded growing and gardening work in the school garden (pictured below), embedded regular farm visits, developed a healthy tuck shop, and increased school meal uptake while also working with families to make packed lunches healthier.

The Food for Life Award has Bronze, Silver and Gold categories. The Gold criteria states: “Schools are hubs of good food culture in their community, actively involving parents and community groups in cooking and growing activity. School meals are at least 75 per cent freshly prepared, with some items local and organic, and more than 60 per cent of pupils are choosing to eat school meals. Every pupil learns to cook and has the opportunity to grow food, and groups of pupils are actively involved in the life of a local farm.”

Overdale’s work has even continued during the lockdown with online cookery lessons and recipes being made available for children at home.


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