It's the time of year that sees many of us overindulge, so reinforcing the issue of sustainable food and encouraging pupils to consider the environmental impact of the food they eat can be tricky.
However, this Christmas season, the children from the Harris Academy Greenwich and Graveney School, Tooting, have been handing out unusual delicacies at London’s Borough Market as part of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair’s effort to do just that.
The Big Bang Fair challenged top food science TV personality Stefan Gates to explore new sustainable-themed festive treats to highlight the issue of sustainable food. The result is “Mince Flies”, which have been made with mealworm beetle larvae and locusts, mixed with traditional dried fruit and spices.
“One of the simplest ways of tackling the sustainability of our food supply is by exploring alternative sources of protein," explains Gates. "If we want to be able to feed a growing population, even at Christmas people need to be open to new food adventures and look beyond traditional favourites such as turkey, goose or gammon.
"With nearly 2,000 known edible insect species to try, supplementing our diet with insects is one solution to combat rising food prices and the environmental impacts of traditional livestock farming."
The students have been busy making and giving out the pies, however the project is aimed not only at inspiring children to consider the environmental issues behind the food they eat, but also to show them the exciting and rewarding opportunities there are for them in careers in the sciences and engineering. It is hoped making the pies and researching why they are needed will encourage them to consider new ways of thinking about developing solutions to the way we live our lives in the future.
"The students really enjoyed being part of this exciting project, and it was a great way to teach them about sustainable food in an engaging way," explains Keith Jones, senior lab technician at Harris Academy.
You can download free sustainable food design briefs and activities to support your teaching of the topic. Plus, you can explore the science of food at the The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, NEC, Birmingham, from 11-14 March 2015