SCHOOLS that have been growing their own grub got together to reap the rewards of their hard work at a celebration event.
Earlier this year, 23 local schools joined an annual Grow Your Own Grub competition, organised by the city council’s Sustainable Schools and public health teams, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), and Food for Life.
They were tasked with coming up with a healthy, nutritious and creative menu idea for a three-course meal and then growing at least five of the ingredients they’d need – whether fruit, vegetables, salad crops, herbs or cereals.
Their efforts – grown in portable ‘mealbarrows’ - were judged earlier this year, with Taylor Road Primary School, in St Matthews, named as overall winners.
To celebrate, Taylor Road invited fellow participants to come and try their winning menu at a celebration lunch and assembly.
Pupils and staff from Stokes Wood Primary, Queensmead Primary Academy, Merrydale Infants School and the Nuturing Roots home school group sampled a potato and courgette curry served with rice, roti & yogurt. For dessert, there was a choice of a rhubarb & ginger crumble or an Arabic fruit salad fattoush.
Ranjit Allen, a class teacher from Taylor Road Primary said: “We’re so pleased to have won the Grow Your Own Grub competition. Taking part has started classroom conversations about food miles, healthy eating and sustainability, as well as teaching our children gardening skills and introducing them to the physical and mental health benefits that can come from growing your own grub, even if you only have a windowsill to spare.
“It’s been lovely to see children from nursery to year six, staff, parents and carers all ‘grow’ together. Hopefully, we have sown the seed for self-sufficiency (a nod to The Good Life, for those of you who remember!) - which has never been more important!”
After lunch, the visiting school groups toured Taylor Road’s growing area, before a prize-giving assembly. The city council’s Sustainable Schools team also announced Queensmead Primary Academy as winners of their recent Pumpkin Garden competition, where schools were asked to grow a selection of pumpkin and squash plants in their school grounds, starting from seeds. They then had to harvest, cook with and dispose of the pumpkins in a sustainable manner.
City council public health funding has been used to support the competitions. Cllr Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for public health, said: “We know that children have a better understanding of their food, and are more likely to try new and healthier options, if they’ve had a hand in growing it.
“Promoting nutritional, sustainable food options like these can help to combat obesity as well as demonstrating that growing your own grub is easy - and fun. It’s a message that children can then take home to their families.”
More information about community ‘get growing’ schemes and other sustainable food projects in Leicester, is available at: www.leicester.gov.uk/foodplan