Our FREE toolkit which guides schools and community groups through the process of creating a food education hub is available free of charge.

This step-by-step guide details how schools can create a bespoke hub that suits them – from small scale projects, such as vegetable beds and firepits, to state–of-the art cookery classrooms.

It covers the planning process, architectural know-how, garden planning and food education, plus advice on how the hub can create revenue for a school.

The toolkit has been created by the team behind the award-winning Hackney School of Food: the LEAP Federation, an academy of three primary schools in Hackney, us – Chefs in Schools, and the architects Surman Weston – it’s available todownload now.

Funded by The William Sutton Prize, which is run by Clarion Housing Group, the toolkit aims to encourage children to get cooking and growing produce in schools.

A focus on food education is needed now more than ever with:

  • 94% of secondary school aged children eating less than 3.5 portions of veg a day, with just 11% of primary school aged children meeting the recommended amount.*
  • A  fifth of vegetable intake now coming from foods classed as ultra-processed.*
  • Diets low in veg and legumes being associated with 18,000 premature deaths in the UK each year.*

Henry Dimbleby, Co-founder of Chefs in Schools – a charity transforming child health through school food – said: “Food education hubs are needed more now than ever in schools and communities. They are an incredible resource that can lay the foundation for a life-long love of good food, which makes healthy choices exciting. Our ambition is for this toolkit to be the spark that creates a network of gold standard food education hubs in the UK and beyond.”

A food education hub can have widespread benefits for the school and community, while also creating an income – neighbouring schools can book in for classes, it can be offered for private hire, used as a HAF (Holiday, Activities and Food programme) venue and as a site for council-funded cooking projects. At weekends and in the evenings, it can host fundraising events, but most importantly it can inspire and spark an interest in nutritious food.

Louise Nichols, Executive Headteacher, Mandeville, Gayhurst and Kingsmead Primary Schools, said: “Building the School of Food from scratch has been a rewarding collaboration between the educators, the chefs, the gardeners and architects. It’s not been without its challenges: from raising funds, sharing the vision and launching a project of this nature at the same time as a world pandemic. But the outcome is incredibly gratifying for all concerned.”

Surman Weston, the LEAP Federation and Chefs in Schools believe the scheme can be easily replicated in other schools on a scale that suits them.

Tom Surman, Director, Surman Weston, said: “This has been a truly rewarding project to work on – the impact has been far greater than we imagined. To see the enjoyment pupils take from their time at the school makes this a truly rewarding project which would benefit being replicated nationwide.

“The architectural scheme incorporates design details that are easily repeatable; it is a simple, low-cost design solution which has potential for application on further sites.”

The toolkit was funded by The William Sutton Prize, developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate the legacy of its founder, William Sutton, as a 19th century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing.

It encourages individuals and organisations to present a new concept, service or idea that will benefit social housing residents and communities, with a prize fund on offer to help develop the idea and maximise its impact. The funding is provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. 

Phil Miles, Director of Clarion Futures, said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress that has been made on this innovative project since it won The William Sutton Prize last year. The new toolkit will make a real difference, helping other schools to benefit from the Hackney School of Food’s learnings and enabling more children to sow the seeds of lifeloHereng healthy eating habits.”

The Toolkit is available to download free of charge below.

Research sources: *Food foundation report: Veg facts 2021.