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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow Youngsters Learn the Value of Veg

Published 3 November 2022

Croftfoot Primary

Primary schools across Glasgow have been participating in vegetable sorting sessions supported by local supplier, McLays.

Pupils from Anderston, Cadder, St Albert's and Croftfoot primaries were taught about the journey of vegetables, from seed to plate.

The vegetable sorting sessions saw pupils handle a variety of in and out of season vegetables, hear about their origin, seasonality and even how to grow and prep them for cooking and eating.

The lessons were designed to engage pupils in the seasonal, sustainable and nutritional value of vegetables.

This new, interactive food learning experience is hoped to encourage an increase in the uptake of vegetables, both at school and at home by youngsters - a group who are in some cases notoriously adverse to veg - and in line with the Scottish Government's Dietary Goals of at least five portions or more than 400 grams per person, per day.

These activities align with the council's plan to retain its Food for Life Served Here bronze award which was obtained last year across its 130 primary schools and 7 ASN schools cooking kitchens.

The Food for Life Served Here schools award recognises schools dishing up food that is beneficial to both pupils and the planet. The award celebrates the use of local suppliers and producers supporting the local economy and wider community.

The council aims to pursue the Silver award in the near future and is already exploring what is needed to secure this.

Councillor Christina Cannon, City Convener for Education, Communities and Equalities said: "Interactive sessions like these are a great way to educate our children and young people on the importance and benefits of growing and eating vegetables.

"Locally produced vegetables do not only boast nutritional gains but also environmental benefits.

"This new understanding will allow pupils to reflect on their current diet and identify sources of veg that they may not have realised or tried before.

"I hope our pupils take home and share what they've learned about this week with their friends and families, and encourage them to eat and grow more vegetables - an activity that everyone can participate in."

Andrew McLay, Operations Director at McLays Food, said: "We were delighted to work in partnership with Glasgow City Council to help educate young pupils across the city, on the seasonality and origins of different vegetables - some common and some not.

"Our sorting sessions provide a great opportunity for pupils to get up close and personal with all different kinds of vegetables and become familiarised with the growing process.

"I hope this inspires the young people to become more active in growing and eating vegetables to improve health and wellbeing and will motivate pupils to make more sustainable food choices - particularly as we work towards net zero."

Stephen Sawers, Head of Catering and Facilities Management at Glasgow City Council said: "We are extremely proud to serve up more than 34,000 nutritious school meals each day across the city - all of which improve health, support the environment and benefit the local economy.

"Pupil engagement activities like the vegetable sorting sessions, run by local business McLays, enrich the learning experience of our pupils. They not only teach our young people where their food comes from in a fun and interactive way but are also a great opportunity to seek pupil feedback on different ingredients and meals served at school.

"Glasgow advocates for a strong pupil voice and therefore we involve our young people in the decision-making process around future menu planning wherever possible.

"We remain committed to providing the best quality and most nutritionally advantageous meals and plan to introduce more interactive sessions like these in more schools across the city."

Pupils from Anderston Primary were overjoyed to be learning about new variations of vegetables. Zak, who is in Primary 6 said: "The activity was really fun.

"It was good because we got introduced to new vegetables that we have never heard of before - I liked learning about the Rainbow Chard."

Betsy, who is also in Primary 6 at Anderston said: "I didn't realise that you could get different types of Beetroot, especially ones with white circles in them.

"I would like to do this again and maybe we could split into groups and have a competition between us to see who knows more about different types of vegetables."

Published 3 November 2022

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