Aligning what we eat more closely with what we believe

Much talk and thought about food, in particular what gaps there might be between what we feel our values are as a community and what we eat. Debate at Bedales is sparked by a good and impassioned 6.1 student-led Jaw on Wednesday, which presented some of the environmental and moral consequences of eating meat. This was followed by preparations for the Food Symposium next Wednesday. This is the first step in aligning what we eat across the three schools more closely with what we believe in. Using a symposium, both as a way of engaging students with the material, and then consulting them about how we could move things forward has been fruitful over the years, most recently with the one on school bounds, which resulted in some sensible changes and greater freedom for Bedales students to enjoy our beautiful grounds. Having had an initial meeting with ten or so students over breakfast on Thursday, I am confident that the student-led element of the Food Symposium and subsequent work will be strong. Aim is to have a feisty debate, gather plenty of new thoughts and then develop a proposal out of the symposium that can then go to Dunhurst and Dunannie for consutation with them, with the Bedales students leading that consultation. Changes to what we do will need careful planning and probably some re-training for our chefs, so, although some changes may come in the summer, September will probably see more. One of the inspirations for this is my visit in November to Ross School in East Hampton, New England; conveniently their name is a handy mnemonic: Regional Organic Seasonal Sustainable. Have a look at a typical menu. Having eaten there and talked with students and staff about the quality of the food, I can certainly vouch for the satisfaction levels. See

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.