Tuckswood tucks in

16th January 2004 at 00:00
Had teacher Sue Eagle is transforming not only the eating patterns of her pupils at Tuckswood community first school in Norwich, but those of their parents as well.

What began as a biodiversity gardening and growing project has since become a template for a healthy lifestyle which embraces emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

"Diet is huge," she says. "We work with parents who think that it is cheaper to eat processed food and it's not."

The school cultivates vegetables and soft fruit, and children are told what their bodies need to grow and learn most effectively.

At break times children can have a fruit cereal bar, piece of fruit, juice or milk but no crisps or chocolate are brought into the school.

"You have to strike a balance with what children will eat and what will be good for them," says Ms Eagle.

The school has been participating in the Grab 5! project which is run by Sustain. Grab 5! attempts to encourage children to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day in a variety of lively and enterprising ways.

Tuckswood now runs a playground market after school. A local wholesaler, Martin McCarthy, makes a small profit selling fresh produce from a traditional market barrow. The school is also about to start a parents'

co-operative and Mr McCarthy will supply packs of fruit and vegetables for pound;5 and pound;10. This is a non-profit-making initiative and its purpose is to wean families off processed foods by encouraging them to experiment with more unusual fruit and veg. The prices are far cheaper than those of local supermarkets.

"People are more likely to be brave if it is a communal thing," says Ms Eagle.

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