Dorset to Build School Lunch Hub in Attempt to Reduce Food Miles
11:43am 19th March 2014
A purpose built super kitchen, making fresh School meals, is being built in Dorset to cut out unhealthy travel miles in your child's lunch.
Schools across the county are preparing themselves for Nick Clegg's ambitious "free school meals" programme that's set to roll out in September this year (2014).
Although the radical shakeup has been welcomed by the local authorities, it presents them and Schools with a real challenge to get ready in time, with just 5 months to set-up kitchens, organise lunch halls and figure out staffing and food contracts.
Dorset Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Toni Coombs told us the Council is creating a dedicated food hub for Schools, who aren't already signed up to get lunches.
She says they food will be locally sourced, cooked and made right here in Dorset, cutting out travel miles and keeping lunches as healthy and fresh as possible;
"All the meals will be cooked within Dorset and delivered within Dorset at gold food standard. Produce will all be sourced in Dorset too which is what we really wanted to do in the first place but couldn't do 4 years ago because we didn't have the capacity."
Councillor Coombs says their hub will be an alternative food provider and as long as youngsters are eating well, she's happy;
"For example Food Links - in Bridport - already exists and does have existing contracts. There are some schools that have other arrangements locally and don't buy into either contract, so it's down to Schools to decide what they want to do, and the Council contract is there for those who wish to take part."
So far, Dorset County Council has received £880,000 pounds that will pay for the creation of kitchens within local schools, setting up food contracts, expanding halls and potentially employing more staff to help with the lunchtime rush. But more government money is being pumped into the "free school meals" programme.