It’s Full Steam Ahead for National School Meals Week

It is of course 30 years since the formation of LACA, the School Food People and during that time the organisation has worked hard to promote the benefits, values and nutritional factors in today’s school food. 

As that milestone is marked, we have a menu of activity that offers everyone involved in education catering the opportunity to get involved right across the week and in some cases beyond.

Now into its third year of touring the country NSMW is back on the road with its ‘Taste for Yourself’ campaign, when once again we will be visiting all ten LACA regions. The route is now in place across England and Wales; with designated stops along the way we will be inviting parents, journalists, dignitaries and the public at large to enjoy some healthy, nutritious, freshly prepared school food.

In each region we will be have a different message to put across on issues of importance to the provision of school meals. For example in the North West it will be addressing the use of Palm Oil; in the North East a visit to the Quorn factory will be about catering for meat-free diets and the increase in Veganism; the East Midlands will see the tour stop in the historical Spa Town of Buxton with its famous St Anne’s Well, where the message will be about the importance of hydration for pupils; the south West will see a visit to a fruit farm and highlight the importance of 5-a-day in a healthy diet; East of England region will be hosted by NFU East Anglia and concentrate on the key role that British agriculture has in the school meals supply chain. When the ten regional visits have been completed, the combined messaging should paint a very positive picture about the school meals industry. 

We will take the opportunity to promote some of the less well-known facts about a school lunch, tackle outdated perceptions and demonstrate to the widest possible audience just how good today’s school meals really are. An added bonus is the fact that we can make the point in each region, that school meals helps support the local economy by sourcing supplies, wherever possible, locally.

2019 is the 30th anniversary of LACA’s formation and to commemorate that we have launched our ‘#30 people, 30 School Meals Stories’ campaign where weekly, we pay tribute to many of the heroes of the education catering industry. As each week passes and another piece of the jigsaw is completed, it demonstrates the broad range of individuals that have contributed to making LACA the voice of the industry.

‘Taste for Yourself’ is a school-based initiative to encourage non or occasional users of the school meals service, to see for themselves just how good today’s school meals are. For older pupils, often the barrier is misconceptions and we are keen to make sure pupils know what variety and choice is on offer to them. Resources are now available in English and Welsh for schools to promote ‘Taste for Yourself’ during NSMW (and beyond) and are free to download from the NSMW website: – http://thegreatschoollunch.co.uk/resources/new-nsmw-resources/

Move it with LACA’ –We want to get pupils moving during NSMW and help improve their fitness on an ongoing basis. This can be tied in with the ‘daily mile’ campaign which is popular in many schools or to other initiatives involving a daily exercise regime. Healthy eating and healthy living go hand in hand and school meals help provide the fuel that the body needs to enjoy regular exercise.

‘Invite an MP to Lunch’ During NSMW, we know many of you invite your local Member of Parliament to visit schools and enjoy a delicious school lunch – LACA encourage this, especially when this year’s main theme is a ‘Taste for Yourself’ initiative. It is important MP’s know just how good today’s school food is and how important it is in terms of health and wellbeing, for children to have a nutritious, two course lunch in the middle of the school day.

Use the visit to discuss the key issues that our industry face, including the benefit of maintaining UIFSM. 

Download the invite letter template on the NSMW Resources New for 2019 section and invite your MP to lunch.  There are similar invite letter templates to download, for inviting the media and local dignitaries such as the Mayor, ward councillors etc. all free to download in English and Welsh.

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