LACA chair joins Prince Charles, Jamie Oliver on school visit
As part of the tour, leading organic food charity Garden Organic led a debate involving more than 20 representatives from schools, communities, charities and businesses, including LACA chair Anne Bull.
The discussion focused on the specific role of food education in schools and how to tackle the barriers preventing every school from effectively teaching students about healthy eating.
Carshalton head teacher Simon Barber said he believed food growing at his school had played a crucial role in its success.
“I just think it is amazing that this tiny scrap of land has had such a massive impact on the school – it has helped to change the whole approach to food here
“We have worked hard, but there is just this relentless enthusiasm “The boys are really interested in eating well now.”
Carshalton Boys Sports College has been supported by the Food for Life Partnership, launched in 2007, which offers schools across England expert support from the Soil Association, Garden Organic, Focus on Food and the Health Education Trust.
More than 4,400 schools have already joined this national network – strongly supported by The Prince of Wales - to get involved in cooking and growing activities, visiting farms and serving healthy school meals.
Carshalton pupils have been growing their own food thanks to one-to-one support from a garden education officer plus other resources from Garden Organic. Every boy at the school now has a chance to experience growing and eating their own produce and parents have even been given free window boxes with everything needed to do the same at home.
With many changes in food education and much healthier catering, Carshalton has produced dramatic results. Only 20% of the children chose to eat school meals eight years ago – now it is 90%.
Garden Organic chief executive Myles Bremner said: “Carshalton offers great inspiration for any school out there that feels encouraging its pupils to eat healthy food is an impossible challenge.
“This school has really proved that with strong leadership and a huge team effort on the part of pupils, staff, the community and charities like ourselves, we can offer our children healthy school dinners that they will be queuing up to be first in line for.”
The charity Garden Organic, of which The Prince of Wales is patron, was also chosen to lead the government-backed Food Growing in Schools Taskforce, involving 25 key organisations, in 2011.
This taskforce published a report in March, this year, proving for the first time the benefits of giving children a chance to grow their own food.
The report concludes that there is compelling evidence showing how food growing in schools can help pupils to achieve, build life and employability skills, and improve their health and wellbeing.
The taskforce is now urging schools, communities and businesses to come together to ensure that in future every child – just like those at Carshalton - has a chance to grow their own food at school.
To get involved in Garden Organic educational food growing activities visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools.