School pupils from across North Yorkshire had a great day out when they got together at RHS Harlow Carr gardens to celebrate the end of a very successful first year of their Food for Life project.
Food for Life for schools is a Soil Association national initiative and its aim is to encourage them to use food as a way to improve the whole experience, making lunchtimes a more positive feature of the day.
Key elements of the programme are providing healthy meals and good food education, as well as enriching classroom learning and pupil understanding of where their food comes from with farm visits and practical cooking and growing.
At Harlow Carr, the pupils took part in five food and farming-themed workshops, getting up close to farm animals from the Rigmoor Reindeer Mobile Farm and helping to cook delicious recipes from ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ Chef Nigel Brown.
North Yorkshire County Council’s (NYCC) school meals provider, NYCC Smart Solutions Catering, ran a fruit-tasting workshop and provided tasty vegetable muffins for pupils and visitors to enjoy over lunchtime. North Yorkshire Rotters brought their popular smoothie bike, with pupils supplying the pedal power to run the blender on the back of it.
Aspin Park Primary, Bentham Primary, Clapham Primary, Cononley Primary, Kirk Fenton Primary and West Cliff Primary have now gained their Bronze Food for Life Award and were presented with their certificates by County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, executive member for public health, together with HERBIE, the healthy eating carrot. Cllr Dickinson said: “This is a fantastic achievement and the schools who have achieved their Bronze Award can be very proud of themselves.
“They have all worked very hard to deliver the Food for Life programme, using the children’s ideas about how to improve their lunchtime experience at school, such as introducing tablecloths and playing background music. The schools have also introduced more choice at meal time, including salad bars and grab-and-go lunches. Healthy snacks are sold at lunchtime and schools are now growing and cooking more of their own produce.
“Pupils have led assemblies on healthy eating and sustainable food sourcing such as Fairtrade, and calculated how far their ingredients have travelled to reach their school meals.”
The North Yorkshire schools Food for Life project is funded by NYCC through its public health grant and, during the 2016-2018 academic years, NYCC’s Energy and Sustainability Traded Service is offering hands-on tailored support to 20 schools in the county to achieve their Bronze Food for Life Award. All schools in North Yorkshire can access the Food for Life Programme independently and attend local training and network events to support them in their accreditation.
Funding the Food for Life initiative and encouraging North Yorkshire schools to take part in the programme is part of the county council’s commitment to tackle childhood obesity, one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st Century.
Helping pupils to lead a healthier lifestyle in North Yorkshire is one of the key aims in the Young and Yorkshire children and young people’s plan, “ensuring a healthy start to life, with more children and young people leading healthy lifestyles’’. Food for Life enables pupils to learn about the origin of their food and why eating good food, along with having an active lifestyle, really matters.
To find out more about the national Food for Life programme go to www.foodforlife.org.uk/schools For more information on the Food for Life programme in North Yorkshire, contact Ruth Stacey, Food for Life Programme Manager, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07792 954112.