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A Recipe for Success

Issued: 5 Jun 2007

Two Highland school cooks are preparing to dish up a treat to delegates at Soil Association Scotland's biennial conference to be held this week (Thursday 14th June) in Celtic Park, Glasgow. The conference will focus on the role of public catering in delivering health and environmental benefits, particularly through school meals.

Susan Mackay from Dingwall Primary School and Margaret Reid from Invergordon Academy will be there to represent the Highlands, promoting the importance of serving locally grown sustainable food onto the school dinner plate. They will be highlighting the continuing work Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service are doing to promote healthy tasty and nutritious meals in all its schools, and the encouragement of healthier lifestyles.

The Highland Council is one of three Scottish catering teams invited to prepare a meal for delegates so Susan and Margaret have been busy rehearsing their recipes. On the menu will be Salmon Kebabs with Roast Vegetable Couscous, Venison Burgers served in a tasty sauce both accompanied by local seasonal vegetables, new potatoes and a selection of salad leaves grown by pupils at Inverness High School. For dessert the ladies will serve an Oaty Rhubarb Crumble and a Fresh Fruit Platter.

The Council's Food Service Co-ordinator, Sharon Cameron, will be joining Susan and Margaret at the conference. She said: "We are delighted to be invited and look forward to letting the delegates see and taste for themselves some of the dishes we serve up each day in our schools. We
take pride in the extent to which local produce is used in our meals. Local supplies of beef, lamb, venison and salmon as well as local organic carrots are regularly on our menus and seasonal local fresh fruit and vegetables are supplied as much as possible.

"Young people are becoming more aware of leading healthy and active lifestyles and our challenge is to come up with tasty and nutritious meals that use local ingredients that the pupils will enjoy during their lunch breaks."

The three other catering teams at the conference are from East and North Ayrshire local authorities, and Celtic Park itself, where they are involved in the Soil Association's pilot Food for Life Scotland (FFL Scotland) programme.

"What's for Lunch? Putting food at the heart of the curriculum" is Soil Association Scotland's largest and most important conference to date, and is aimed at professionals working in public health, education, procurement, policy-making and catering.

Guest speakers will highlight best practice in Scottish public catering where healthy meals and the local sourcing of sustainably produced ingredients are bringing public health, economic and environmental benefits to local communities.

The event will also introduce a new audience to Food For Life (FFL) Scotland, which is widely recognised as leading the way in the provision of fresh, local and organic food for Scotland's schools. In 2005 Strathpeffer Primary was one of only two Scottish schools selected to pilot the FFL Scotland programme, and it is still running successfully today. In Highland, a target of serving 75% of non-processed foods is being achieved in all primary school meals, however in Strathpeffer over 50% of the food is also sourced locally and 30% is organic, including eggs, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, in line with FFL Scotland's targets.

Pam Rodway, Food for Life Scotland manager said: "Our speakers will be exploring the links between our food choices and how they affect our health and the environment. It's an important connection. We cannot expect people to change their eating habits unless they understand the reasons for doing so - for that reason, food must be a core part of the Scottish curriculum.

Delegates will get the inside story of Food for Life Scotland. They will meet inspirational people who consider the provision of healthy school meals as more than a job. And they will leave with contacts, ideas and, we hope, the desire to make a difference to the public institutions that they serve."

The conference is being supported by the Loch Fyne Trust, GreenCity Wholefoods, Organix, Graham's Organic Dairy and Celtic Football Club.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme