Whole setting approach

Our pioneering whole setting approach sets out to change the food culture of a place from root to tip.

Cooking, growing, eating and sharing good food in accessible ways throughout the day, not just at mealtimes. 

Food for Life builds skills and confidence, creating healthy habits that last a lifetime. 

A whole setting approach leads to outstanding food culture through:
  • Integrating good food across the setting: Food for Life embeds learning about good food across the setting, reinforcing positive messages and deepening understanding of healthy and sustainable food.
  • Supporting settings to establish food growing: Supporting schools/settings to start growing, no matter how much space they have, inspiring participants to handle and eat fresh, healthy food and learn how it is grown.
  • Embedding learning about where food comes from: Comprehensive food education is encouraged, including farm visits. Connecting pupils/staff with the source of their food to support them to make good food choices.
  • Raising the profile of food education: Organising cooking activities in schools/settings, providing exposure to the smells and sensory qualities of fresh ingredients, and learning essential skills for life.
  • Elevating the value of food across the whole setting: Building a culture of engagement at every level, from senior leadership to those engaging with the food, ensuring buy-in and collaboration.
  • Involving the wider community: Sharing learning with parents and the community allows the benefits of a good food culture to extend further and to more people
  • Driving change at a higher level: Widespread successful implementation of a healthy and sustainable approach to food provides evidence for Soil Association policy and advocacy work at local and national government level.
We have some useful resources and tools to support the development of a whole setting approach, including guidance on developing a food policy and establishing a ‘school nutrition action group’. 

In a ‘whole setting approach’, pupils, staff, cooks, caterers, parents, and governors all have an important role to play. 

Commission Our Work

in Food for Life schools eat around a third more fruit and vegetables than pupils in comparison schools, and significantly more fruit and vegetables at home.

Good School Food

School Meals

A vital service which can positively impact on both education and health.


Providing essential skills for making good food choices.

Food Growing

Inspiring pupils to eat fresh, healthy food.

Farm links

Reconnecting with where food comes from.

Cooks & Caterers

The front line in school meal quality.

Pupil & Parent Voice

Paving a route to success by involving your most important ‘customers’.