Cairngorms National Park

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Linking, learning & lunch in the Cairngorms National Park

16th September 2011

Schools and cottage hospitals throughout the Cairngorms National Park are a step closer to serving more locally sourced food in their canteens.

It follows the “Linking Learning and Lunch” seminar at Glenmore Lodge on Friday 9th September 2011.

Officers from the five Local Authority areas in the Cairngorms National Park – Highland, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Perth & Kinross – along with NHS Highland & Grampian were invited to the event, hosted by four partners; Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), Soil Association Scotland, Eco-Schools Scotland and Sustainable Scotland Network.

David Green, CNPA Convenor, said: “The National Park has a chance to become an exemplar place for putting local food on the public plate. Through the Cairngorms Food for Life Development Plan, we can work together to provide support for producers and encourage more people to buy local”

Attendees at the seminar heard how Eco-Schools have a new Food and the Environment topic which encourages pupils of all ages to find out about where their food comes from. They also learn the health, environment and economic benefits of using local food and are encouraged to ask questions specifically about their school dinner ingredients.

Norma Murray, Catering & Cleaning Manager for The Highland Council said: “We have worked closely with local producers and distributors to provide fresh, local, seasonal and where possible organic food within a large geographical area.”

The Highland Council has been awarded the Soil Association Food for Life Bronze Catering Mark for Primary Schools which means that over 75% of their meals are freshly prepared with farm assured meat, cage free eggs and no undesirable additives, hydrogenated fats or GM ingredients.

Norma Murray: “Hopefully with the help of the networking started at the seminar and the support of the Sustainable Scotland Network and partners, other Councils in the Cairngorms National Park will be able to follow suit and we can all work towards being awarded the Food for Life Catering Mark.”

David Green added: “If the meal created on the day by Glenmore Lodge’s Head Chef Matt Dare from ingredients sourced within a 90 mile radius is anything to go by, the children and patients in the Park are in for a treat.”