A range of initiatives designed to improve the diet, health and quality of life of residents, has resulted in Croydon being awarded a certificate by London Food Link.
The certificate, to be presented on 18 December at the launch of the 2015 edition of the Good Food for London report at City Hall, recognises the great work done in food education across the borough.
Croydon, last year, became one of only two of the capital’s authorities to be awarded Food Flagship status following a commitment by the Mayor of London and the Department for Education to fund two pilot schemes using the findings of the School Food Plan.
Three schools – Rockmount Primary, Meridian High (formerly Addington High) and Fairchildes Primary – were subsequently named as the borough’s Food Flagship schools. They are leading the campaign to convince residents of the benefits of healthy eating through cooking and growing some of their own food.
The schools have taken on the challenge to move children and adults away from sweet and fizzy drinks, and foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, with revised lunch menus, breakfast clubs, regular involvement of parents, and gardens in which the pupils learn how to grow food that, when harvested, is cooked in the school’s kitchen, providing hearty, nutritious meals.
More recently, Croydon was welcomed into The Sustainable Food Cities Network, a pioneering national food network that shares innovation and best practice to stem the rise of preventable health problems.
Additionally, the borough’s work across such fields as Fairtrade foods, the London living wage and animal welfare contributed to the awarding of the certificate.
One of the country’s fastest-growing social movements, the network seeks solutions to issues including obesity, diet-related ill health, food poverty and waste, climate change and biodiversity loss, and declining prosperity.
“We’re very proud that our commitment to providing residents with the means of improving their knowledge and outlook of diet and future health scenarios is being recognised.
“Being granted Food Flagship status was a significant moment, and having three Food Flagship schools is giving our children skills and attitudes that, in addition to staying with them for life, are influencing decisions made by their wider family members as regards the choice and preparation of food.
“Flagship status is providing the opportunity to use food to transform our environment, improve health, tackle obesity and reduce inequalities in Croydon.
“Being awarded the London Food Link certificate is tangible evidence that we’re on the right track and will spur us on to achieving even greater results.”