School Food Matters is a small but influential charity that punches above its weight. We campaign on school food policy and deliver food education through our innovative projects. Our mission is to ensure that every child enjoys fresh sustainable food at school and understands where their food comes from.
The charity was founded in 2007 by a parent perplexed by the school food offered to her two small children; frozen food, unappealing and quite often unidentifiable. She then heard a head teacher declare that children at his primary school couldn't identify an onion, let alone know what to do with it. There was clearly a job to be done.
We began working with The A Team in 2011 when the charity needed extra capacity to help it grow from a one-woman mission focused on a local campaign to an organisation reaching children across the UK through policy development and its exciting food education programmes.
The A Team has helped us to reach an important milestone. 2017 marks our 10th birthday and we’ve got much to celebrate. Our food education programmes have reached tens of thousands of children across London and beyond we’ve racked up some pretty impressive numbers:
52,140 children have been either directly or indirectly involved in our projects
Over £16,500 has been raised by children participating in our enterprise projects to support food education
Since 2010, 267 schools have taken part in our programme.
Over 60 different varieties of fruit and vegetables have been grown and sold by school children.
Projects help us deliver our mission and help schools tackle issues around healthy food and nutrition in a really exciting way but campaigning and advocacy work remain central to our charity's core purpose.
As a result of our successful campaign in Richmond, school meals across 60 primary schools have been transformed and children now enjoy fresh sustainable school food cooked on site by skilled school cooks. Take-up of school meals has doubled and the cost of a school meal still remains lower than in 2010 when children were eating those frozen ready-meals!
Our success in Richmond caught the attention of the School Food Plan (SFP), the team tasked by the Department for Education to create an action plan to support head teachers to improve school food. As a member of the SFP Expert Panel, SFM was able to bring to the policy table an example of just what can be achieved with parent power, effective campaigning and a will to get the very best deal for school children. The work of the Plan continues in the form of the School Food Plan Alliance; a group that have become custodians of the Plan and its 17 actions.
From its humble beginnings, School Food Matters now has six core members of staff and together with our dynamic board of trustees and a band of enthusiastic volunteers, we’ll be celebrating 10 years and reflecting on how far we’ve come!