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Schools grow their own grub for annual competition

Meal barrow

SCHOOLS that have been growing ‘mealbarrows’ full of healthy fruit and vegetables will have their efforts judged at Abbey Pumping station on Saturday.

The mealbarrows are part of 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.

Schools 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.

The ‘mealbarrows’ idea – where crops are grown in wheelbarrows – means even schools that don’t have much growing space can take part in the competition.

Twenty three schools have participated, and the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour will be on display in the Forget Me Not Garden at Abbey Pumping Station on Saturday 2 July, from 12pm until 3pm.

Visitors to the pumping station, and friends and families from the schools are invited to view the mealbarrows and vote for their favourite.

Their votes will be combined with those of a panel which has already visited all of the participating schools, judging against criteria such as the condition of the crop, how environmentally-friendly the growing methods have been, and the creativity of their menus.

Prizes of Co-op shopping vouchers will be awarded for first, second and third places.

City council public health funding has been used to support the competition. Cllr Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for public health, said: “I’d like to thank all those involved in setting up this competition, since 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.”

Schools participating in the competition are: Catherine Junior School; Christ The King (VA) primary school ( infants and juniors ); Fosse Mead Primary School; Green Lane infant school; Hallam fields – Birstall ; Highfields Primary; Mayflower Primary School; Mellor Community Primary School; Merrydale Junior School; Nurturing roots; Oaklands primary school; Rolleston Primary School; Sandfield Close Primary School; Scraptoft Valley Primary School; Sparkenhoe Primary School; St Barnabas; St Josephs Catholic Voluntary Academy - Market Harborough; St Martins Catholic Academy - Stoke Golding; St. Patrick's Catholic Voluntary Academy; Stokes Wood Primary School; Taylor Road Primary; Tudor Grange Samworth Academy; Uplands infant school.

More information about community ‘get growing’ schemes and other sustainable food projects in Leicester, is available at: