School meals service using more local produce

East Lothian Council’s Facilities Management team have been working with local suppliers to increase the amount of locally grown produce used for the school meals service.

Vanessa Sanal, Service Manager, Facilities said: “We’ve been working with The Soil Association’s Food for Life Scotland programme, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Soil Association Scotland, for a number of years and have achieved their ‘Bronze Food for Life Served Here’ award across its primary schools for six consecutive years. We serve 3,700 meals a day across our 35 primary schools and are seeking to expand the range of produce grown locally which shortens supply chains, supports local economies and works towards reducing carbon footprint.”

“Working with George Anderson & Sons of Macmerry, who is one of our main suppliers, we have been able to secure a greater proportion of local produce including potatoes from East Lothian, tomatoes from Scottish Borders, rhubarb, white cabbages and carrots from East Lothian, beetroot from Ayrshire and a range of soft fruit including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries from Fife. We know that children are increasingly interested in learning about their food choices and origins and it seems particularly apt that in the week the council launched its draft Climate Change strategy for consultation, we are able to demonstrate some practical measures being undertaken.”

Mike Robertson from George Anderson and sons said: "We are delighted to be such an integral part of the supply chain visiting the local growers and bringing their produce directly to East Lothian Schools. This is something that we have been doing for many years and the list of local growers continues to grow and develop. We see this as the way forward and will continue to work to support and  promote the sustainable procurement of local Scottish Produce."  

Sarah Duley, Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to congratulate East Lothian Council on its commitment to sourcing fresh, local produce for their school meals. Using locally grown produce helps to put delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables onto school plates, reduces food miles, and delivers a vital boost to local business too. It’s a win-win for children’s health, the environment, and the economy. As Food for Life Served Here award holders East Lothian Council is putting good food on the menu for schoolchildren, and it’s a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that they have maintained their award for six consecutive years.”

Published: Thursday, 6th June 2019