The Soil Association, best known for their work championing organic food, has launched a national award for early years settings.

Two Huddersfield nurseries, Oakwood House Nursery and Forest School and Fixbees Nursery, are the first two early years settings to achieve the Food for Life Early Years Award. Following the pilot scheme across 35 settings in West Yorkshire, this award is now open to all early years providers across the country.

Oakwood House manager, Samantha Richmond said: “We put a huge focus on a healthy, varied, seasonal menu and ensure children learn why a healthy diet is so important, so they can make healthy choices.”

Director Tracey Fenton – who has four nurseries in Huddersfield including Fixbees – added, “It just felt right for our nursery. Food for Life seemed perfect. We started building up the portfolio for the criteria. Elements of the award are based on growing, so we started visiting the local allotment.”

Programme manager at Food for Life, Sian Creagh-Osborne commented: “There are many early years settings who are incredibly committed to providing a good food culture for the babies and children they care for. The Food for Life Early Years Award provides a flexible framework, along with expert guidance and resources, to support settings to focus their efforts and provide children with the very best start to their food journey.

“The award’s independent verification process, which includes an on-site visit, also offers reassurance to parents and carers that their child’s setting is following best practice.”

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