Interventions to Strengthen Environmental Sustainability of School Food Systems: Narrative Scoping Review

Grace Gardner, Wendy Burton*, Maddie Sinclair, Maria Bryant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


School food systems play a role in the wider food system, but there is a scarcity of literature exploring interventions that aim to improve the environmental sustainability of school food systems. The present review aimed to understand and describe the types of interventions that have previously been explored to strengthen the sustainability of school food systems along with their impact. We applied a scoping review methodology guided by Arksey and O'Malley, which included a review of the online database Scopus and the grey literature. Information relating to intervention design, study population, evaluation method and impact were extracted. In total, 6016 records were screened for eligibility, 24 of which were eligible for inclusion. The most common types of interventions were school lunch menus designed to be more sustainable; school food waste reduction; sustainable food system education using school gardens; and dietary interventions with added environmental components. This review highlights a range of interventions which could positively influence the environmental sustainability of school food systems. Further research is needed to explore the effectiveness of such interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5916
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 by the authors.


  • Humans
  • Food
  • Refuse Disposal
  • Schools
  • Educational Status
  • Gardening
  • sustainability
  • Planetary health

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