I’ve written before about the School Food Trust, an organization in Britain that acts as a kind of support, research and implementation wing of the government’s school dinner program. It started as an arm’s length agency under the Labour government following chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign to expose unhealthy meals served in school canteens, and became a registered charity a few years later—though it continues to rely on government funding.
According to teachers like Jackie of Jackie’s School Food Blog, it’s done a huge amount to change and improve school lunch, and there is much that remains to be done. The case studies on the SFT website looking at schools that have transformed themselves with its help are clear evidence of the enormous potential.
But last week, following months of worry from healthy school food advocates, word was leaked out of the new coalition government that the School Food Trust is on the chopping block. Along with 176 other organizations the SFT may lose its status and funding.
Just when Americans are starting to wake up to the need for better government support for healthy school food, Britons are at risk of losing theirs. Advocates believe the move is motivated by ideology rather than economics. It’s hard to imagine a more short-sighted approach to something as important as the health and well-being of a country’s young people.