Improving Our School Food Culture with Eat Smart Sheffield

ShefFood are on a mission to improve Sheffield’s Food System with the aim of making healthy, affordable, sustainable food accessible to all.  One of the major groups to benefit will be our children – our all-important future generations. We all know that what we put in our bodies plays a significant role in our physical and mental health, so education on healthy food choices, how our food system works, and the importance of cooking, growing and farming, can be beneficial to us all.  

So, we are pleased to see that a Food & Nutrition Programme has been developed and is currently being delivered to all schools across the city.  Named ‘Eat Smart Sheffield’, this 5-year programme, commissioned by Sheffield City Council and managed by Learn Sheffield, has the aim of encouraging and supporting pupils, their families, and the wider community to adopt good eating behaviours and healthier lifestyles.  

Who are Eat Smart Sheffield?

Programme managed by Lisa Aldwin, Eat Smart Sheffield works with all primary, secondary, and special schools in Sheffield, as well as some additional settings including local charity organisations, childcare providers, and Sheffield Hallam University.  The programme has two main aims:

  • To give schools and settings the tools they need to make long term changes to their food culture and curriculum to support healthy behaviours
  • To give children, their families and the wider community the confidence, skills, and knowledge they need to cook, grow, and enjoy good quality affordable food whilst increasing understanding of related issues including seasonality and food miles

As part of the programme, all schools and settings can expect a vast array of resources, support and guidance, including:

  • Access to evaluation tools, training and awards
  • Links to relevant local and national food organisations and healthy eating campaigns
  • Data dashboards with national, city-wide and local area public health data
  • The ability to share learning and best practice 

Working with Food for Life

Eat Smart Sheffield works very closely with Food for Life, a nationwide charity run by the Soil Association. Food for Life brings schools, other settings and communities together around the core ethos of healthy, tasty and sustainable food and is the perfect partner for Eat Smart Sheffield – and definitely something ShefFood can very much get behind!

Food for Life have a Schools Award programme which all schools across Sheffield are encouraged to work towards.  Following a ‘Bronze – Silver – Gold’ framework, it helps to support and demonstrate how a school provides healthy school meals, great lunchtimes, and food education that positively impacts all pupils and the wider community.  With a whole school approach, the framework specifically supports schools to:

  • Improve health, wellbeing and motivation of pupils and staff
  • Encourage pupils to take part in enrichment activities
  • Enable children to feel empowered to make their own choices to improve wellbeing
  • Connect with parents and their local community

So far, over 70 schools have engaged with Eat Smart Sheffield and over 30 schools are currently working towards their Food for Life Award.  In addition, we are delighted to announce that the following schools have already attained their Bronze Award, such a great achievement:

  • Arbourthorne Community Primary,
  • Lowedges Junior Academy
  • Mansel Primary
  • Oasis Fir Vale
  • Phillimore Community Primary
  • St Theresa’s Catholic Primary
  • Wybourn Primary School.

All these schools have done amazing work in highlighting the importance of good food choices and a healthy lifestyle for their children and their families. Activities have included involving pupils and parents in planning improvements to the school menu and the lunchtime experience, using the topic of healthy and sustainable food as themes for assemblies, and giving pupils the opportunity to visit a local farm as well as take part in cooking and growing sessions.

How To Get Involved

Find out if your school or setting is involved in the programme by asking them directly or by contacting Eat Smart Sheffield. If they haven’t signed up, why not encourage them to do so?  Enrolment is FREE!  Just tell them to get in touch at:

You can also support the programme by:

  • Following Eat Smart Sheffield on social media:
    • Facebook: @eatsmartsheff
    • Instagram: @eatsmartsheffield
    • Twitter: @eatsmartsheff
  • Attending Eat Smart Sheffield events – keep an eye out on our social media channels and on their website
  • Checking out their regular ‘5 Top Tips’ feature in the Food & Drink Supplement of The Star every Wednesday
  • Read their newsletters.
  • Finding out more about the work Food for Life do, including their Schools Programme, by visiting their website:
  • Spreading the word!  Tell your family and friends about the work they do!

If you want more information about the programme, please contact Lisa Aldwin, Programme Manager for Eat Smart Sheffield via:

Together we can make our schools and other community settings a hub for great food and food education, supporting local suppliers and businesses, helping to keep ourselves, our families, and our great city eating smart!