Camden pupils sell vegetables to raise awareness about healthy school food
- Credit: Estelle Nilsson-Julien
Pupils have sold vegetables at a market stall in Camden Town to raise awareness about healthy and sustainable food in schools.
The Camden School for Girls and Acland Burghley schoolgirls gathered at Inverness Street Market on September 30 to sell their produce.
All money raised will be reinvested into the Know Your Onions project, run by the charity School Food Matters, which teaches children about food and works to improve children’s access to healthy, sustainable food during their time at school.
The program encourages secondary school students to engage with nature through gardening and cooking. It currently operates in schools across five London boroughs, including Camden and Hackney.
School Food Matters development manager Dela Foster told the Ham&High: “Lots of children associate vegetables with plastic packaging and won’t eat ones that look a bit funny.
"With the ongoing child obesity crisis the project has a health side to it, but it’s also an important way for children to think about how the environment works.”
After taking part in an initial workshop with a horticulturalist, teachers and students now tend gardens in their schools.
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As part of the Know Your Onions project, pupils also attend a cooking workshop with a professional chef and take a trip to the local farm.
Mayor of Camden Sabrina Francis met with the students as they sold their produce.
Cllr Francis, a former Camden School for Girls pupil herself, said: “I think it’s great, it’s really important for young people to learn how to grow food and cook it.
"Gardening is great for physical and mental health but you also come away with something to eat at the end – what’s not to like?”
At Acland Burghley in Tufnell Park, gardening has become part of the school culture. The daily lunch club allows students to cook meals using fresh produce from the garden.
Iwona Szczepanska-Sulek, who is involved in running the lunch club and school garden, regularly organises cooking challenges for pupils.
Iwona said: “We run sessions teaching students how to cook on a budget. In the first exercise we give ten of them £3 each and they have to pool their money together to make three course meals.
"In the second exercise they are given £3 each to make a three-course meal alone, which then becomes more challenging. It is important to show them how much easier it is when you work together.”