Last month, 242 school children took over Whole Food Market stores across London and Cheltenham in a series of school trips that combined Business and Maths with Food Technology education.
The ‘Market Days’ were the culmination of an almost three-month-long Schools to Market project, which was created by the UK charity School Food Matters in order to educate more school children about where their food comes from.
Delivered in partnership with organic food store brand Whole Foods Market and Whole Kids Foundation – an organisation devoted to improving children’s nutrition – the project began by giving 36 schools access to masterclasses to teach them about different types of ingredients.
Some of the masterclasses were led by celebrity chefs. Tom Aikens, for example, led a masterclass at Maria Fidelis School in Camden.
The Iron Chef star created two new chutney recipes to teach to the students. The first was pear and ginger and the second was tomato and apple.
The second stage of the project gave schools opportunities to visit farms to research the provenance of ingredients like those they had learnt about in their masterclasses.
Pictured: A school taking a marketing tour at Whole Foods Market.
While they were at the farms pupils participated in pick your own activities and tasted various products grown on the sites.
Next, the pupils embarked on tours at Whole Food Market stores where they took workshops on how food was marketed.
Finally, classes made their own chutneys and jams and spent the day at their nearest Whole Food Markets selling what they had made.
Between them the school children raised more than £8,900. The money will be filtered back into food education.
“It was really interesting to see children who had never seen vegetables grow suddenly understand where their food comes from,” said a teacher from Our Lady of Victories Primary School.
A teacher from The Bridge Alternative Provision Academy in Fulham added;
“It was great for the children to see the journey from plants in the ground to finished products. It really showed the children what it takes to get food into a shop.”
The Schools to Market campaign may be over for another year, but School Food Matters works with schools throughout the year to help them develop food education opportunities.
Resources for ideas and finding funding are available on its website.
Plus, teachers can express their interest online in getting involved in future projects with farms and retailers.
For more information visit www.schoolfoodmatters.org.