From planting to plate

4th July 2008 at 01:00
Eco-friendly pupils at a North Lanarkshire school are set to tackle their region's food footprint by growing and selling fruit and vegetables after learning about the impact of food on the planet

Eco-friendly pupils at a North Lanarkshire school are set to tackle their region's food footprint by growing and selling fruit and vegetables after learning about the impact of food on the planet.

Pupils at Glencryan School are the latest to showcase their work with the Local Footprints Project, a joint initiative which helps local authorities and schools to measure and lower their ecological footprint - the total toll which they take on the planet in terms of resources.

After doing the Measure Your Footprint quiz at home, the youngsters discovered most people live a "three-planet lifestyle".

"If everyone lived that way, we would need three planets to support us," said a spokeswoman for WWF Scotland, one of the partners in the project.

The pupils researched what they ate, and the food miles it travelled to reach their plates, in order to tackle their footprint. When they added up the distance travelled by every item of a school lunch menu, they found it was an astonishing 360,000 miles.

By contrast, food grown in the school garden had only one food mile attached, and no wasteful packaging. This sparked a major project to grow everything from raspberries to rhubarb, which they used in home economics classes and the bistro run by older pupils.

The school now plans to extend its allotment and orchard and build a polytunnel. Spare plants and produce will be sold to the community through a new business being launched with the school's bistro, where older pupils learn about producing and serving food. It is also setting up a new horticulture department in association with Oatridge College in West Lothian. This has the potential to provide fresh produce to local schools, making a real difference in reducing the food footprint of North Lanarkshire.

Teachers at the school, for pupils with additional support needs, adapted materials from the Schools Global Footprint resource to suit their capabilities.

- www.LTScotland.org.ukschoolsglobalfootprint

- www.sustainable-scotland.netpage.asp?pg=85. ttp:wwf.org.uk.

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