Archived site section

Please note that the content on this page has been archived and is not actively reviewed at present.

Brazil nut oilWith fair trade ingredients ranging from spices and pasta to cocoa and sugar you can cook to your heart's content knowing you are making a positive contribution to the lives of producers and your health.

Try to use tasty recipes using pasta and rice or fairtrade fruit that you can sell in school. If you are cooking cakes you are only allowed to sell these on special or one-off occasions in school, or to staff and parents.

  • Cooking is a key skill which promotes the understanding of food choices and helps young people and adults to make sure they have a healthy diet.
  • Through practical food preparation and cooking, learning about food can be more effective and relevant to young people.


Planning a Cookery Club

Start from where you are! Plan cooking activities to take account of participants' knowledge and expertise in food preparation. You also need to consider the availability of equipment, space and staff to provide extra help in practical work. Cooking activities can be as simple as making a sandwich or a fruit salad or as involved as setting up a café or a banquet. Don't fall into the old trap of focusing just on biscuits and cakes. There are lots of fun and easy recipes using fairtrade fruit and vegetables. Instructions on the 'How will the new nutrition regulations affect you?' page can tell you what sorts of foods are acceptable for sale throughout the school day and what foods should be kept for special occasions.

Do a business plan. Work out how much it will cost to set up and run. You can make profit by charging entry to the cookery club, or by selling the produce you make.

Be prepared. Try out recipes in advance and see what fair trade ingredients you can use.  Find out what equipment is necessary and what is available in school.  Ensure health and safety issues have been considered. Arrange for young people to cook in small, manageable groups.

Before you start. Check out the Food Standards Agency 'Bad Food Live!' DVD, which provides teachers with a useful way of teaching basic food hygiene messages, from the importance of handwashing to cooking and chilling food properly. Teachers can get a copy of the video by calling 0845 606 0667, or email: quoting ref: FSA/0845/0903.

Link it into your whole school approach. For example, your class could develop and test recipes for the young co-operative shop or you could prepare healthy packed lunch ideas and create a display promoting them. These can all contribute to National Curriculum activities, 'Creating things with a range of materials and knowing how to handle food safely'. Food hygiene fits into the PSHE & Citizenship curriculum at key stages 2 and 3, 'developing a healthy, safer lifestyle'.

Join up with your Food Technology class. Why not persuade your food technology classes to start using fair trade ingredients? You can set up an order form listing all the raw fair trade ingredients you can buy easily, and prepare the orders yourself each week.


Suggestions for healthy fair-trade cooking

  • Fair trade pasta salad
  • Fair trade banana bread
  • Home-baked tea breads and fruit buns – with lower sugar levels and extra fair trade fruit for sweetness
  • Home-baked cakes such as rock buns, gingerbread and fruit cake
  • Avocado and tomato salad


CASE STUDY: We did it!

Blessed Thomas Holford College has run homemade cake stalls using fair-trade ingredients.

After completing a market research survey which revealed that the popularity of fruit in school needed to be raised, the young co-operative decided to take things into their own hands. The young co-operative (with the help of their adult lead) sold muffins and flapjacks packed with fair-trade dried fruit and nuts, with the idea of enticing students into trying new things. The organisers report that this worked a treat and the baked goods went down very well.

Colette McLoughlin (adult lead) said, ”If things look bright, wholesome and colourful, it sells. We also have laminated photos and maps on our stall which create discussion.”

The next stage is already being discussed in the group, with the possibility of chopping up basic fruit salads, etc, in the classroom, so only minimal equipment is needed.

More information

Food Standards Agency: Get Cooking! provides teachers (or the adult in charge of your young co-operative) with a toolkit to teach young people, broadly between the ages of 14 and 25, basic cooking skills in a community setting.

The Fairtrade Foundation: provides a range of recipe ideas using fair-trade ingredients. See:

Healthy Schools & Fair Trade: Sustain was contracted by Young Co-operatives to assess the implications of the new school food standards for fair-trade food and drink products sold in schools. This work was supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2021
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies