It’s been well documented that eating habits can be heavily influenced in early childhood. The Eat Happy food education project, launched by supermarket giant Tesco, will be offered to every Primary school in the UK, with its aim being to help school children have a healthier relationship with food.
First stop: Farm to Fork
Farm to Fork is the first initiative from the project. From the end of February pupils will be able to go on educational Farm to Fork school visits - through Tesco - to factories, on farms and to supermarket sites, for practical demonstrations of where food comes from and how it is made.
School groups will also have the opportunity to talk to food suppliers worldwide; for example, banana growers in Costa Rica; through Google+ hangouts and live video chats, using Google’s Connected Classrooms.
These virtual field trips will allow students to talk to producers and Tesco colleagues around the world.
Food suppliers across the country are opening their farms and factories to teach children how milk is produced, where eggs come from and how lettuce grows, and so on.
Amongst the food suppliers already signed up to participate are: Arla (dairy), Greenvale (potatoes), Noble Foods (eggs), Gs Produce (vegetables and salad) and Berryworld (fresh berries). Teachers can go online at the Eat Happy site, type in their location, and find participating suppliers in their area.
Developed with teachers and in line with the curriculum, Farm to Fork will also involve specially trained colleagues in over 700 Tesco stores across the UK teaching school children about different foods and giving practical demonstrations; for example baking bread, tasting new fruits and vegetables, and learning all about fish.
Farm to Fork: Dobbies (nationwide)
As part of a commitment to local communities, Dobbies stores run a free-to-join kids’ gardening scheme called the Little Seedlings Club.
School children on a farm visit as part of Tesco’s Eat Happy campaign.
School children aged between four and ten can pop along to learn all about plants, wildlife and the environment. They will see where fruit and vegetables come from and get their hands dirty by learning how to plant and grow them.
Farm to Fork: Wye Fruit Ltd, Hill Farm Orchards
The orchard visit will include a ‘discover’ walk through the site explaining the life cycle of an apple from bud and blossom, to fruit set and the growing season, to when and how they are harvested.
Students will then learn how apples are stored, packed and delivered and subjects such as pollination, the impact of the weather, geography, geology and the autumn harvest may be also included.
Teachers arranging a school trip to a fruit farm are advised to plan it between early April and October.
Teaching Toolkits for healthy eating
The Eat Happy website boasts dedicated lesson plans, recipes and ‘how to’ videos for children and teachers.
The online toolkits feature recipes for school groups of pupils aged four to 11, to give them hands-on experience of how to prepare and cook meals from scratch. Plus, there are helpful lesson plans and activities that support teachers, and should spark your pupil’s interest in learning all about food from an educational perspective.
The recipes are progressive, involving more complex practical tasks each time. This means that as pupils move through the different Key Stages, they will be challenged and able to learn new skills.
All of the kits come in a printable download to make it easy to get started. The cooking skills and recipes featured have been developed in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation.
Talking about the project, Tesco UK managing director Chris Bush said: “We know parents are concerned that kids don’t always understand how food is made and where it comes from, which is important to developing a strong positive lifelong relationship with food.
“Working closely with teachers, our suppliers and a number of partners including the Children’s Food Trust, we want to help make the relationship Primary school kids have with food better, and that’s the aim of the Eat Happy Project.”
The second phase of The Tesco Eat Happy Project, to launch later in the year, will involve cookery courses for kids in stores, working with the Children’s Food Trust.
School trip organisers should register their interest now for the Farm to Fork Trails at www.tesco.com/eathappyproject.