Thursday, March 31, 2011

More pictures of school meals

Look how far we have come! on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salmon and courgette pasta...

...followed by apple pie. Shame that every child living under the poverty line doesn't get this for free.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Let's Get Cooking!

I spent a great day at Haydonleigh Primary School visiting the Let's Get cooking Club with Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson. The children worked with parents to prepare a carrot and coriander soup and an apple crumble.

Justin is a passionate supporter of cooking in schools and was keen to find out about Let's get Cooking clubs work. We finished off our visit with a school dinner.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another great lunch

The barbecued chicken was a new recipe that our cook Sally tried out for the first time today. It was very popular with the children. We have now switched to home made coleslaw which tastes great. I am having a school lunch on Thursday in Swindon with the local Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson as we are going to visit a Let's Get Cooking Club.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today's Observer

We got a Children's Food Campaign comment in today's Observer

Unbelievable that this government really expect junk food companies to give a lead on a policy aimed at reducing the consumption of the high fat/salt/sugar products said companies need to sell more of for their bottom line.

Off to meet Defra tomorrow with some Myles and Colette from Garden Organic. We are exploring exciting plans to set up a task force to get all schools food growing. Will report back!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to influence public health ...

Here is a link to a piece I wrote for The Children's Food Campaign for The Telegraph

Not expecting a positive response!

From seed to sandwich

Grow it
Mill it
Bake it
Eat it!

Here is a great project for UK schools to help us teach children where there food comes from. The inspirational Chris Young,(featured recently in the Observer and on BBC 2's The Great British Food Revival)has come up with a great way to learn about breadmaking. If you have access to 1 square metre of ground and a handful of earth you can take part.

If you are a teacher you can get free seeds and download a guide which will take you through the whole process by clicking here Get you skates on. You need to be planting your seeds by April.

Real bread starts in a field, not a factory!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today's school dinner at Wimbledon Park Primary School

I spent today at Wimbledon Park work shadowing the exceptionally talented music AST teacher. As part of my mission to protect school dinners I make it a principle to eat a school dinner at every school I visit so am delighted to report that the food at Wimbledon Park is excellent!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why teach cooking skills in school?

Just read this blogpost from the teacher I mentioned yesterday. Well worth a read. Jenni describes the impact that cooking lessons have had on both her and the students

Here are some pics of this weeks school dinners

Monday, March 7, 2011

Value our cooking teachers!

We have some amazing teachers in our secondary schools doing a wonderful job in challenging circumstances. I came across this video by chance on twitter through discussion with @jennitonic80 about the possibility of losing cooking from the curiculum. Jenni created it to inspire her students. But you can rest assured they don't just passively watch because she provides opportunities for them to learn by actually cooking. However this is all threatened. If we don't get Michael Gove to change his plans then our youth may lose the chance to learn how to prepare fresh food for themselves.

Please click here to send Gove a message now

And thank you to all the cooking teachers up and down the country who are doing a great job to redress the massive influence of the food industry by teaching our children basic cooking skills

Friday, March 4, 2011

Talking to kids about school dinners


I thought I would carry about a bit of ad hoc research and get some feedback on today's school dinners. I was a bit surprised how quickly the children focused on the healthiness of the meals. I think it is because the children are eager to please and think that adults are only interested in school food with regard to healthy eating.

Food for thought.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Interesting film about American school lunch programme

Well worth a watch. School food is a global issue and diet related health problems are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable citizens the world over. What a difference decent school food programmes could make if we cared enough to act.

Keep cooking on the curriculum

Our Life North West have been doing something fantastic detailed work with all sorts of communities that are more likely to suffer from poor health. One of the barriers to good health identified by several of their focus groups is lack of cooking skills. If you are not able to prepare fresh food then you are more likely to rely on processed ready meals or take-aways which are generally more unhealthy and less nutritious than freshly prepared food.

Hardly rocket science. You would think that at a society committed to improving the health of the nation would ensure that ALL kids would get basic cooking lessons to ensure they had the skills to prepare a healthy diet.

After years of campaigning we eventually won a commitment from the government to ensure that all year 9 students would receive 24 hours of practical, hands on cookery which focused on preparing family meals. Schools were given three years to prepare and money to spend on equipping classrooms and training teachers.(Incidentally these lessons will be focusing on real cooking skills not the 'design a pizza box' type lesson so beloved of the food industry)

Mr Gove,the current Secretary of State for Education has other ideas. He is keen to slim down the national curriculum and reduce the element of compulsion for schools. if he gets his way then cookery will no longer be compulsory. Secondary schools are going to be under the most tremendous pressure to improve their Ebacc ratings so many will claw back the time that would be spent on cookery lessons to spend time on subjects that improve their league table ratings.

It is vital that we keep compulsory cookery lessons. Please take 2 minutes to send a message to the government now to ensure that our voice is heard. Click here to take part in the consultation exercise that is currently going on about the school curriculum.

If we can generate a huge response to this then we stand a chance of winning.

We need the health professionals who are currently looking at obesity reduction strategies to put pressure on education to retain cooking lessons. How joined up is it too have Department of Health looking at behaviour change strategies to reduce obesity at exactly the same time that the Department of Education wants to ditch responsibility for life skills?

Can you help us spread this campaign? All suggestions gratefully received!