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Museum event will showcase pupils’ healthy mealbarrows

A planted-up mealbarrow from a previous Grow Your Own Grub competition

EVERYONE is invited to admire the efforts of schoolchildren who have been growing their own grub at an event at Abbey Pumping Station next month.

The museum will have 21 different ‘mealbarrows’ on display – wheelbarrows planted up with a range of herbs, fruit and vegetables that children have been growing and then using to inspire their own menus.

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). The winning schools will get gardening vouchers.

Visitors to Abbey Pumping Station on Saturday 6 July will be able to vote for their favourite mealbarrow. 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.

Participating schools are 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 and this year needed to include at least one type of herb.

Sample dishes on the menu included strawberry and mint macarons, beany quesadillas, rainbow kebabs and chana chaat. Other ideas included a mighty meatless pizza; mutabbal (a smoky aubergine dip), strawberry and thyme blondies and a sage and apple crumble.

Katherine Packham from the city council’s public health team said: “The mealbarrow competition is a great way to celebrate all the hard work of the children who have been growing their own grub. This helps to give these children the best start in life by appreciating the link between healthy eating and a healthy mind and body.”

As well as the mealbarrows, there are lots of other things to do at Abbey Pumping Station. Saturday 6 July will also see the museum hosting one of its regular railway days, with the narrow-gauge railway running. There will be an impressive range of Meccano models on display, and vintage vehicles in the museum grounds.  Leicester Libraries’ new electric book bus will be on site, offering storytelling and free activities, and children will also be able to take part in seed-sowing activities with TCV. Entrance to the museum is free, with a small charge (50p) for train rides.

The city council’s walking team will also be leading a group walk to the pumping station on Saturday 6 July. Join them at Abbey Park at 11.30am and take in a route including the riverside and Ellis Meadows before arriving at Abbey Pumping Station for 12.30pm.

To find out more about the walk, visit

More information about Abbey Pumping Station is at