The many ways schools ‘do food’

This infographic visualises the food work and activities that take place in schools. Each numbered segment represents a single family and the school food programs and events that they experience.

Programs vary across schools, but also within schools. Nude Food, Life Education, Garden and Cooking Programs are prevalent across Victorian schools. But each school varies in the way it implements these programs. Nude Food, one of the most popular programs in Australia, is a daily occurrence at some schools, or run less often: weekly, monthly, by term or year. We also found that little formal education on food accompanies programs in schools.

Other food events and activities are an integral part of the school day. Families talked about themed days that encouraged them to celebrate food from ‘other cultures’. Some schools permit birthday celebrations while others don’t. In schools where birthdays were celebrated children could bring a variety of foods. Where birthday celebrations couldn’t include food, students could bring stationery.

Differences in programs and inconsistencies in school guidelines, policies and practices confuse children and parents. Many families we spoke to expressed uncertainty about which guidelines to follow.