Let’s get curious.

Aside from the Olympics, the global watchword for today is ‘Curiosity’.

After a nine month journey, NASA has landed the rover Curiosity on Mars and it is already beaming pictures back, giving us a close up glimpse at the red planet’s landscape.

One of the stated aims of the mission is to answer an enduring question that continues to intrigue us earthbound humans – was there ever life on Mars?

It’s a human characteristic to look outward and ponder our place in the universe. Now the Curiosity has made our galaxy a little smaller. Likewise this international sporting spectacle of human endeavour brings nations closer together. While we’re all rooting for our national teams, we can recognise effort and excellence no matter where it appears.

And that is the purpose of this website. In the United Kingdom and in the United States, and undoubtedly in other countries around the world, schools catering has become if not a political hot potato, then at least a massive talking point. Recognition that good eating habits begin at an early age, whilst for many countries obesity is an issue that needs urgent attention, has focussed eyes on schools caterers to find ways of tackling these problems through innovation and best practice in their industry.

But within the UK at least our tendency is to be inward looking. We are good at talking to each other and sharing our successes nationally, but we rarely turn our attention overseas to see what our international colleagues can teach us.

So School Food World aims to redress the balance. The hope is that this will build into a useful resource for those involved in schools catering around the world, to draw on the expertise of their global partners and gather examples of best practice or take inspiration from international innovation.

We aim to report, promote and celebrate stories, news and case studies that demonstrate the best that international schools catering has to offer when it comes to providing healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals for our school children, at best value for schools and parents.

And we aim to remember that for many countries poverty and hunger are more pressing issues than wastage and obesity.

We hope you’ll play a part and send us examples of innovation and best practice when you see them, join the debate and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

So come on, let’s get curious about the world of school food.

2 thoughts on “Let’s get curious.”

  1. Great idea for a site Siobhan. Having been heavily involved in school meals for almost 5 years up and down Britain, the one thing that stands out like the proverbial sore thumb is a consistency that is governed by boroughs and councils.
    You are absolutely right in saying that food education should begin at an early age, sadly in our disposable society the up and coming generation would rather fill their children with ready made meals.
    I have done numerous cooking demonstrations in schools, giving samples away at lunch times and slowly introducing new fresh ingredients into their diet, you can replicate the fast food young adults get from the High Street but make it healthy, nutritious and FUN.
    Catering companies get a pittance to provide a balanced meal for children that are entitled to a free meal, in certain areas of Britain this will be their only hot meal of the day, a sad stastistic.
    As Britains varied population expands we are also faced with the dilemma of specialised meals and separate cooking equipment to cater for these needs at no extra cost to the school but the caterer losing more from their already tight budgets.
    Before we educate the children we must educate and train the caterers and teachers.
    Bring Back Cooking Classes in Schools.

    1. Hi Hugh,
      Thanks for your response. You’ve raised lots of issues that can be problems in the UK. I wonder how other countries manage catering for specialist diets?
      One thing I would point to with regards to your mention of cooking classes and poor food education in the current generation, is some more joined up thinking regarding school food, education and the health of a nation that is currently going on in Scotland.
      Although Martha Payne’s blog threw Scottish school food into the spotlight, chef Nick Nairn had already been campaigning for better food education in schools and making it part of the curriculum, so in geography lessons talking about the origins of different foods, bringing weighing and measuring into maths etc. etc.
      More recently the Fife Diet group launched their Food Manifesto earlier this year which includes ‘The Soup Test’, the idea being that every child in Scotland should leave school knowing how to make a pot of soup. There are many other sensible suggestions all of which aim to not only educate children about healthy eating, but to act as an investment in the future health of the nation in recognition of the fact that Scotland as a nation has a a far worse diet than many other parts of the UK, and that their health service will be struggling to cope with diet related health problems and they need to make some changes fast. Yes these changes may take a generation or two to see results, but it’s hard to change the habits of adults. Hopefully if some of these joined up thinking measures were brought into schools they would form the strong foundations to make a real and positive change for the future.
      I would love to hear about any similar initiatives taking place in the USA that aim to deal with diet issues in the young.

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