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Watch: UK’s most-climate friendly school dinners announced

Two caterers deliver the most environmentally-aligned meals for primary and secondary school children in the UK. 

sliced yellow fruit in white ceramic bowl

Announced by esteemed conservationist and TV presenter Chris Packham, Waltham Forest Catering and Plant-based School Kitchens came out on top of the inaugural National Champions of ProVeg School Plates Awards.

Celebrating excellence in sustainable and healthy school food, the competition has been set up to recognise and share the positive steps caterers are taking to increase the proportion of vegetarian and vegan food being served, and reduce other associated emissions. 

‘Congratulations to both of those gold winners, but it’s not just about those two winners,’ said Packham. ‘It’s about those children that have seen the potential of plant-based foods and have had their eyes and their taste buds tickled by that potential – improving the environment and sustainable thinking about our and their future.’

Waltham Forest Catering is responsible for meals at 43 schools across the London Borough, and walked away as National Champions for state schools. Among other things, the company was commended for its ‘taster sessions’, where children and parents get to sample meals and feedback before dishes are added to the menu. Highlights have included spiced chickpea and sweet potato pilaf, and jackfruit pasta bake. Meanwhile, Plant-based School Kitchens won National Champion for private school catering thanks to the entirely plant-based menu on offer at Our Lady of Sion School, Worthing. 100% vegetarian and vegan catering is only available at institutions that fall outside a Government mandated rule that requires some meat and dairy be served regularly in school canteens.

‘We’re absolutely delighted to recognise Waltham Forest Catering and Plant-based School Kitchens as true pioneers in school food. We really didn’t expect to award our first Golds last year given how high we’d set the bar, but these menus were just exceptional,’ said Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg. ‘In the midst of a global climate crisis, it’s time to celebrate these genuine climate leaders who are working so hard to provide children with nourishing, sustainable food that they love to eat.’

Chris Packham announced ProVeg School Plates Awards Champions (youtube.com)

More on climate change and net zero: 

Downing Street net zero policies ‘make poor poorer’

400 businesses join Aston University’s regional decarbonisation programme

Lambeth Council has nurtured Europe’s largest climate tech hub

Image: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

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