SCHOOLS that have been growing their own grub have reaped the rewards of their green-fingered efforts at a celebration event.
Earlier this year, 20 Leicester schools took part in the annual Grown Your Own Grub competition, organised by the city council’s sustainable schools and public health teams and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).
They were challenged to come up with a healthy, nutritious and creative menu for a three-course meal using at least five ingredients that they had grown themselves in a single wheelbarrow. These could include vegetables, fruit, herbs, salad crops or cereals, but this year needed to include at least one type of bean.
The menus and ‘mealbarrows’ were judged and put to a public vote this summer with Inglehurst Infant School, in Newfoundpool, named as overall winners.
Their menu featured a ‘beans on toast’ starter of sourdough bruschetta with peas and broad beans, topped with burrata cheese and a radish, tomato and herb topping. A bean and beetroot-based rainbow burger with baby sweetcorn and green beans was the school’s winning main, with a strawberry crumble for dessert.
Fellow competitors were invited to Inglehurst Infant School to sample the winning menu at a celebration lunch and prizegiving. Inglehurst Junior School, in Newfoundpool, and St Patrick’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, in Rushey Mead, were named as runners-up.
All the winning schools received prizes of garden centre vouchers.
Kerry Pochin, headteacher at Inglehurst Infant School said: “The grow your own grub competition was a brilliant opportunity for our children to learn about where food comes from, how to grow it sustainably and how to look after the plants. We are extremely grateful to Aimee, our parent volunteer, who supports events like this by leading our gardening club. It was wonderful that city catering were able create the meal from our menu for our school dinner as part of the celebration. The children had a wonderful time.”
Cllr Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for public health, said: “I want to congratulate all the schools on their impressive contributions to this fantastic competition. 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, economy and culture, 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.”
For more information about community ‘get growing’ schemes and other sustainable food projects in Leicester visit www.leicester.gov.uk/foodplan