Knowledge for better food systems

Right to food and universal free school meals

This briefing from UK NGO Sustain argues that the UK government should extend universal free school meals beyond the first three years of primary school. After the first three years, only children whose families receive certain benefits qualify for free school meals. Currently, many children who live in poverty are not eligible to receive free school meals, e.g. because their families are not allowed to access public funds due to their immigration status or because of 2018 changes to the earnings threshold that determines eligibility.

The report recommends:

  1. Extending the provision of universal free school meals.
  2. Expanding the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme to all primary school children and all countries in the UK, with some of the fruit and vegetables being produced in the UK, seasonal and agroecologically produced (e.g. organic). This would be paid for with funds from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
  3. Work towards reducing household food insecurity by incorporating the right to food into legislation.

Read the full report, Sustain Briefing: Right to Food and Universal Free School Meals, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is food security?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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