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Food Culture at Borestone Primary School

by Gillian Sewell, Borestone Primary School

As a Food for Life pilot school, Borestone Primary decided to initially focus on the CULTURE aspect.  Having carried out a survey in the school dining hall it was found that many children were not taking time to enjoy a school meal, instead choosing to rush outside to play.  Wastage was an increasing concern with many children being reluctant to try unknown foods or different vegetables.  As the P7 class teacher I felt the older children could become food role models to their peers however they would first need to become more knowledgeable about food themselves! 

Primary 7 have been learning about local, seasonal produce.  They have linked this with their learning about WWII and how the war impacted on the availability of food. 

The children were surprised to find out that Britain was importing over 50 million tonnes of food prior to the start of WWII.  As food ships started to be destroyed by German u-boats the amount and variety of available food reduced therefore they learned that rationing was introduced.  The children were very interested in the Dig for Victory campaign therefore they arranged a visit to their local Tesco store to find out more about foods that can be grown locally.  Many were taken aback by how many thousands of miles their fruit and vegetable favourites had travelled before landing up in their lunch boxes or on their dinner plates.  However, they were also amazed that a small country like Scotland could grow such a wide variety of produce during different seasons of the year.

"I learned that vegetables that grow underground are good to grow in Scotland because they don't need too much sun" Aiden

The children were also encouraged to taste some of the local produce available in store, with many tasting things for the first time.

On returning to school the children researched what could be grown in any given month of the year.  Having looked at the journey a banana from the Caribbean makes to arrive in the UK, they realised growing things in Scotland would be much better for the environment as food miles create CO2.  Also, they appreciated the cost implications.  By costing how much 3 locally grown, seasonal soups could be made for they realised seasonal food also makes financial sense.  Best of all, they enjoyed the experience of making and tasting their homemade soups!

To further their learning even more, the children also enjoyed taking part in a RHET Food and Farming Day at United Auctions in Stirling.  This allowed them to find out about food from animals too.  Industry experts covering venison, sheep farming, dairy farming, seafood, butchery and animal auctions shared their wealth of knowledge with the P7 class.  It was a fantastic way of showing the children how food gets from farm to fork - everyone learned lots!

"I didn't know that the insides of a sheep, including the windpipe, are used to make haggis." Courtney

"I was amazed to learn that one cow can produce an average of 32 litres of milk a day!" Calum

"I enjoyed tasting cheeses I had never tried before.  The one made from goats milk tasted very different."  Josh

"I learned we have about 1 million deer in Scotland and the meat they give us is called venison." Jorja

"The butcher showed us half a lamb and explained how it gave us different bits of meat."  Laura

A chef from the Chefs at School programme also demonstrated how to use a famous Scottish produce, salmon, in a Thai influenced recipe.  For many of the children it was the first time they had encountered such flavours as lemongrass but each and every one of them tried the soup.  The majority went back for seconds! 

It is hoped that by being more aware of the wide variety of food produced in Scotland, the children will become more adventurous and positive towards food.  By showing a willingness to try new things they can hopefully become role models to the other children in Borestone Primary.

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