Grow your own lunch

22nd April 2011 at 01:00
An Eco-Schools topic links what you eat and the environment - and follows the food pupils eat from their garden to the canteen, writes Chris Small

Food and the Environment is a new topic from Eco-Schools that aims to excite children's interest in where their food comes from - and how it ends up on their plates.

Designed to inspire pupils, teachers and parents to explore the issues from local and global food perspectives, the topic was launched last month at North Queensferry Primary in Fife. Guests were given a tour of the classrooms to observe how the topic has been incorporated into lessons, and helped pupils to plant oat seeds from packs sent out as part of the project to all schools in Scotland.

North Queensferry recently won green flag status - the top Eco-Schools accolade - and has burnished its environmental credentials over the past two years by setting up a kitchen garden where pupils develop gardening skills and learn about the link between what is grown in the ground and what they eat.

Crucially, the school's catering manager is an enthusiast, and vegetables from the garden are used in the school canteen to make lunches for pupils and staff. Surplus food is given to a restaurant in the village or sold in the local shop.

North Queensferry head Sally Hourston said: "Through growing our own food and composting our waste, the work of our kitchen garden is spreading across different areas of the curriculum, giving pupils opportunities to show initiative and to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours of responsible citizens."

Fergus Ewing MSP, who attended the launch, said pupils at schools like North Queensferry would benefit through getting involved in activities such as school food-growing and measures to reduce food waste. "A better understanding of the importance of food and its relationship with the environment benefits everyone," he said, "pupils, schools and our communities."

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