Cardiff University and a Cardiff Secondary School

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 2013 Impact Award: Sustainable food systems and quality school meals Cardiff University and a Cardiff school.

This project highlights the potential of public procurement to promote sustainable food systems in schools.

It developed one of the UK’s finest kitchens and canteens in a school in a very deprived area of Cardiff. The space is convivial and pleasant, and messages about healthy eating in the classroom are reinforced by the food serviced in the canteen. The project engaged with every part of the food chain – farmers and producers, public procurement officers and local authorities. The school catering staff learnt to cook good quality low cost food from raw, and they take great pleasure in seeing the children enjoy it. This raised the dignity and self-esteem of the staff. The pupils enjoy the food, its’ affordable, and for many it’s the only hot meal of the day.

The project’s work is informed by examples of good practice from all over the world. Dr Sonnino’s comments are worth quoting here:

“The real world is way ahead of academic theories. So you’re not going to learn how to produce impacts by reading the latest literature in the field. It’s important to talk to real people; to enter their world to see what their needs are…

Over the years I’ve been invited to something like thirteen different countries to talk about school meals. There’s extra time in travelling, talking to people and doing advisory work for policy makers but for me it’s a crucial part of my identity as an academic.”


Professor Kevin Morgan:
Dr Roberto Sonnino:

ESRC Impact Prize winners 2013: Outstanding Impact in Public Policy

Professor Kevin Morgan and Dr Roberta Sonnino, Cardiff University