The campaign aims to connect and engage the supply chains behind all school food with what’s on the child’s plate. It is hoped it will create a generational shift in how the nation engages with and values food provenance.
Fronting the campaign is farmer Adam Henson, who explains: "The appreciation and understanding of food starts with children simply knowing how and where the ingredients on their plate were produced, but they don’t. They have no idea. Every school dinner has a story to tell - a journey. It leaves a footprint. We need every child to explore it and be inspired and learn from it."
Adam hopes every school in the country will commit to making their food supply chain transparent, using technology to deliver into school dining rooms the journey of every plate of food.
The project is being operated by Happerley, a not for profit organisation founded by farmers and gaining support from across the food industry to validate the provenance of food ingredients and empower consumers to know where their food is from.
Happerley have partnered with Co-op Childcare, one the UK’s largest nursery providers, who are leading the campaign by turning all their Co-op Childcare nurseries ‘Happerley Transparent’ in the meals that they provide.
Happerley founder, farmer Matthew Rymer, explains: "The food industry remains one of the least transparent and we are not told the origins of most of the ingredients in our food. Children are particularly susceptible to buying into brands and clever marketing because they do not know or understand better."
"By working through the food chain to deliver the full story of the ingredients that make their school dinners, our hope is we can create a seismic change in understanding for the future that impacts positively on their health and nutrition, the environment and sustainable food production."
Co-op Childcare has committed to becoming the first national childcare provider to carry the Happerley accreditation, empowering all the communities they serve to know where the food they are serving comes from. They have changed their food suppliers to enable transparency of their supply chain for all of their families whilst also having expanded their early educational programme to connect children to food origins.
Chief Operating Officer of Co-op Childcare, Sally Bonnar said: "The role we play in early years for the health of future generations and connecting children to food origins, not only builds an understanding of food sources but by teaching children where food comes from also lays the foundations for making healthy eating choices and making healthy connections before entering school. Our ambition is to be known as a different kind of childcare provider, a successful values driven business that delivers great experiences and is not just reactive but proactive when it comes to delivering what matters to children, members, colleagues and communities"
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Survey which was conducted with 27,500 children across the UK produced some shocking statistics.
Nearly a third (29%) of five to seven-year-olds thought that:
One in four older primary school pupils (aged eight to 11 years) thought the same as above.
"Schools and families can and should successfully work together to, in turn, educate children and then motivate them in their endeavours to make healthier choices." Managing director of the BNF Roy Ballam.
There is a great need to educate not just the children but also parents, chefs and teachers.
There is currently no formal professional support provided to teachers centrally;