GREEN fingered pupils that have been busy growing ‘mealbarrows’ full of healthy fruit and vegetables will have their efforts judged at Abbey Pumping Station this weekend.
The mealbarrows are part of an annual Grow Your Own Grub competition organised by Leicester City Council’s sustainable schools and public health teams, in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).
Participating schools were challenged to design a healthy, nutritious and creative menu for a three-course meal using at least five ingredients that they would grow themselves. These include fruit, vegetables, herbs, salad crops or cereals but this year needed to include at least one type of bean.
The mealbarrows concept – where a range of crops are sown and grown in one single wheelbarrow – means that even schools without much space for growing food can take part.
Twenty city schools have taken part in the competition this year and the fruits of their labour will be on display at Abbey Pumping Station on Saturday 1 July, from 12 noon to 3pm. Museum visitors, and friends and families from the schools, will be invited to vote for their favourite mealbarrow from all those on display.
Just some of the mouth-watering meals from the 20 menus in the competition include kopykta – a herby Polish potato dumpling; spicy bean burritos; a fresh corn, radish and fava bean salad; vegetable and bean-packed rainbow burgers; carrot and strawberry cupcakes; and a beetroot-based red velvet cake.
The public votes will be combined with the views of a judging panel which has already awarded marks for the menus and the crops, along with how well the project has been integrated into teaching.
Prizes will be awarded to the wining schools early in the new academic year.
Cllr Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for public health, said: “We know that children are more likely to try new and healthier meals, with lots of fruit and veg, if they’ve had a hand in designing the menu and growing the ingredients themselves.
“Getting boys and girls interested in nutritious food can have a positive impact on eating habits and it’s important to show that growing your own grub can be simple and fun – you really don’t need a big garden to have a go.”
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on climate emergency, culture and the economy, said: “Our sustainable schools team does a fantastic job of making important environmental issues relevant to the daily life of children. Giving kids the chance to get involved in growing their own fruit and vegetables is a great way of learning about the benefits of healthy, sustainable food and the impact that our diets can have on the environment.
“Above all, the meal barrows competition is a celebration of the green-fingered and culinary achievements of children from schools right across the city.”
Along with the mealbarrows display, there’s plenty more to see and do at Abbey Pumping Station this Saturday (1 Jul), including rides on the narrow-gauge railway and the return of the popular Meccano displays. The museum, on Corporation Road, is open from 11am until 4.30pm.
For more information visit: www.leicestermuseums.org/abbey-pumping-station