Whole school food programmes and the kitchen environment
Kimberlee, R. , Jones, M. , Orme, J. and Salmon, D. (2012) Whole school food programmes and the kitchen environment. To be published in British Food Journal. ISSN 0007-070X [In Press]
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Abstract Purpose - The paper describes the impact of the Food For Life Partnership (FFLP) whole school food programme on kitchen staff employment and professional development. Design/methodology/approach - This exploratory research involved baseline and follow-up interviews with 74 kitchen staff (51 primary and 23 secondary English schools) enrolled onto the FFLP programme. Empirical data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire between 2007-10 with an average of 20 months between baseline and follow-up. Data were collected on the perceived programme impact on school cook professional experience and employment and their role in health promotion. Findings – Numbers of kitchen staff and mean job satisfaction grew. Kitchen staff reported significant investment in their kitchen environment. They felt a greater degree of involvement and broader integration with the rest of the school’s educational mission. However, towards the end of their involvement, kitchen staff became increasingly cognizant of the growing challenges posed by broader economic conditions emerging at the time of follow-up. Practical implications – Kitchen staff can play an important role in the promotion of healthy eating and school cohesion. However there are significant organisational and employment based barriers to fulfilling this potential. Originality/value – This paper outlines the role of kitchen staff in whole school food programmes and illustrates the key dimensions and barriers that need to be overcome to enhance their role through the delivery of improvements in school food uptake and the promotion of healthier and more sustainable food consumption.
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