Reforming school food
Helping to visualise a healthier, more sustainable school food service.
We sought to examine what was wrong with ways of providing school food in the UK.
A food system fit for life
A research study led by Professor Kevin Morgan and Dr Roberta Sonnino proposed a more sustainable system, by drawing on experience in Europe and North America.
The study showed how the school food chain could be reformed by creating a better procurement system that linked local food production to local consumption.
This research has led to the transformation of school meals in more than 4,300 schools.
An appetite for change
This research has inspired the reform of public policy at national and local levels across the UK. It won the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize in public policy and has become a reference point for reformers all over the world.
It helped inform England's 'Food for Life' Partnership, which transformed meals in thousands of schools. Food for Life is a five year programme established by the Soil Association in 2007. Funded through a £16.9 million grant from the Big Lottery and involving four charities, Food for Life is the most transformative school food programme in Europe. It is being implemented in over 4,300 English schools, reaching over 500,000 children.
Preliminary results show that the initiative has made a genuine difference, with more primary school children in particular eating five a day. In Wales, the research prompted the Welsh Government's reform of school food policy, 'Appetite for Life.'
The UN World Food Programme has drawn extensively on the research to inform its own creative procurement programme, 'Purchase for Progress.'
Meet our experts
Professor of Governance and Development
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- Morgan, K. J. 2010. Local and green, global and fair: the ethical foodscape and the politics of care. Environment and Planning A 42 (8), pp.1852-1867. (10.1068/a42364)
- Sonnino, R. 2010. Escaping the local trap: insights on re-localization from school food reform. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning 12 (1), pp.23-40. (10.1080/15239080903220120)
- Sonnino, R. 2009. Quality food, public procurement, and sustainable development: the school meal revolution in Rome. Environment and Planning A 41 (2), pp.425-440. (10.1068/a40112)
- Morgan, K. J. and Sonnino, R. 2007. Empowering consumers: the creative procurement of School Meals in Italy and the UK. International Journal of Consumer Studies 31 (1), pp.19-25. (10.1111/j.1470-6431.2006.00552.x)