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BigBarn Foodie Schools Project update

We need kids to discover real food at school

We have restarted our Foodie-schools project from 2012. Wow, 10 years ago, and some kids still think milk comes from supermarkets not cows!

Hardly surprising when food growing and cooking have not been on the curriculum for nearly 2 generations and most people are more influenced by supermarket offers and cheap takeaways than cooking fresh, healthy local produce.

BigBarn and Foodie schools

We have been promoting local food as better for us and the planet for 22 years and realised that to get people to change they need to understand the benefits.

Our project’s original objective was to help kids discover healthy food by getting every school growing food, cooking it and selling any excess through a local shop. Crop for the Shop in schools we called it.

Time in the veg patch

Our vision was that the curriculum could be linked to the veg patch to make learning more interesting, as well as get kids to enjoy real food. As kids are our most powerful influencers we want them to help their parents and friends discover the ‘better way’. The project was a huge success but did not continue due to teacher buy-in and curriculum restrictions.

Pioneering Foodie schools

Over the years some schools have overcome these barriers and a few have food on every subject in the curriculum, a veg patch for each class, beehives, polly tunnels and a chef that cooks what the kids have grown. And more.

Our new project is about helping all schools get food growing, cooking, trading and nutrition at their core and become the centre of a sustainable, healthy, inclusive, food community.

Fun and healthy

This also means building their own circular economies so will also be working on food waste including composting, wormery, and recipes to re-use leftovers instead of throw away.

BigBarn Foodie Schools Project

Our project will make videos on how existing foodie schools overcame their barriers as well as more videos as we, and perhaps even you, help schools overcome the individual barriers (funding, parents/teacher buy-in, curriculum, etc) to become ‘foodie’.

We will then put all the videos that we make or can find to help schools become ‘foodie’ in a Knowledge Database to allow other schools to follow. BBC video example here:

A great example of ‘discovery’ and a video and case study to include is TastEd which gives children the opportunity to experience the joy of fresh vegetables and fruits. Just like growing food TastEd believe learning about food should be more carrot, less stick.

TastEd leading the way

TastEd offer teachers support, training and resources to deliver a range of simple, classroom based, taste education lessons that are tailored to UK curriculum meaning that Food Education becomes a basic aspect of every child’s knowledge.

We are hoping that TestEd will soon be on the national curriculum and immediately help overcome the barrier of child, and teacher, buy-in to food. To us teachers are just as crucial as many are part of the previous generation who also missed out on any food education.

Everyone can join the Foodie Schools project

We hope that as we build the knowledge database that everyone will get involved and help their local school ‘get foodie’ or add videos to help others. Wouldn’t it be great to get kicked out of the kitchen by your kids because they want to cook the family a gourmet meal? Or earn some money from growing food in your garden/window box?

Here is more from Ant and Shane from Slow Food UK. If you would like to be kept up to date on progress please register for our monthly newsletter here