Another survey has confirmed an alarming proportion of the British public have no idea where their food comes from,. says the UK Soil Association.
The latest survery from the LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) organisation reports that many British people are unaware that the ingredients for produce such as bacon, porridge, bread and beer come from farms.
Food illiteracy The Soil Association is leading a new £17million Lottery-funded Food for Life Partnership project which aims to wipe out food illiteracy in England in five years.
The Focus on Food Campaign which champions cooking skills, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust are joining forces in the partnership.
The Food for Life Partnership is calling in the Times Education Supplement for expressions of interest from schools to become 1 of 180 Food for Life flagship schools across England. (Schools and communities wishing to get involved should register their interest at www.foodforlife.org.uk. )
Children cooking food "The 180 Food for Life Flagships will demonstrate that giving children hands-on experience of growing and cooking their own food and visiting local and organic farms will increase their appetite for fresh healthy fruit and veg, and boost school meals uptake," the Soil association said.
Flagship schools will also promote cooking and growing food amongst parents and community groups.
All schools will be able to work towards Food for Life Partnership Bronze, Silver or Gold awards from September this year, to reassure parents that their children will not emerge from school thinking that carrots grow on trees.
Food culture Soil Association policy directory Peter Melchett said big Lottery funding for the Food for Life Partnership was a huge boost to delivering healthy eating, reviving food culture and supporting sustainable farming in the UK.
"There is little hope for our nation’s health and the global climate if children grow up unable to identify a carrot, and think food starts life in the supermarket."
Food for Life flagship schools, and the linked organic farm visits and growing projects will give hundreds of thousands of children and their parents the skills and knowledge to cook and eat healthily and affordably, as well as the power to influence the whole food-chain, he said.
Practical food education Focus on Food Campaign directory Anita Cormac said not just pupils would benefit from cooking classes on board the new Food for Life Cooking bus. Parents and the wider community would also have opportunities to learn.
"Involving both pupils and their parents in practical food education is the key to winning support for healthier food in schools and beyond,” she said.
Garden Organic (Henry Doubleday Research Association, HDRA) chief executive Susan Kay Willaims said there was no better way of getting children eating vegetables than helping them to grow their own in school gardens. Every school, urban or rural, could grow seasonal organic produce for school dinners, and Food for Life flagship schools would demonstrate how.
Health Education Trust director Joe Harvey described the Food for Life Partnership as a ‘whole school approach’ to healthy and sustainable eating.
"Together we can help flagship schools point the way to a positive food culture, addressing both the obesity epidemic and the urgent need for a low-carbon food system.”
UK Soil Association website