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06 May 2011 by Zac for The Richmond Informer
A School Food Triumph
It has long been argued by parents, teachers and more recently national food
campaigners that the food served in our schools and other public institutions
is unhealthy and low quality. Everyone remembers Jamie Oliver’s dramatic
attempts to make ‘turkey twizzlers’ a political issue.
Since then, there has been patchy progress. Nationally, the Government is yet
to keep to its promise to invest the £2billion annual food budget for schools
and hospitals in sustainable, high quality food for children and patients.
But locally, we have seen a major breakthrough. After years of lobbying by the
excellent local campaign group, School Food Matters, it has now been announced
that 29 primary schools in Richmond will be receiving freshly prepared school
meals from September. The children will be guaranteed high-quality, sustainable
and organic food with no GM ingredients.
Astonishingly, the price paid for each meal will decrease by up to 40p, which
shatters one of the most persistent arguments against the policy.
Big congratulations to Stephanie Wood, who runs School Food Matters, for
mobilising hundreds of parents and putting the issue firmly on the political
agenda locally. Credit must also be given to Richmond Council and their
willingness to listen to what parents want for their children and doing the
right thing. Encouragingly, Kingston Borough is moving in the same direction,
though more cautiously. As of the end of this month, schools will be served
food to the ‘Bronze’ standard.
I will continue to campaign on the issue nationally, and will be able now to
showcase Richmond as an example of what can and must now happen across the