Ultra-processed foods count for over half of total energy intake in the UK diet, and for people living in cities, the opportunities to connect with the ways in which food is grown, or where it comes from, are few and far between.
For the children, this project brings lots of benefits. As part of their lessons, pupils graze their way around the garden, picking up the flavours and tastes of different plants – as well as learning plant names – before taking ingredients inside to cook with. From experience, Tom has found this environment helps set the children on a path to a more adventurous palate. “A child can be fussy at home, but in the garden they’re eating raw courgettes, flowers, and watching hoverflies. It blows their mind,” he says.
There is also an impact on waste reduction, as pupils learn to prize what they have grown, as well as gaining a better appreciation for the natural world around them. “What the children gain from working here is they start to appreciate all those fantastic moments of wonder around the natural environment – they start to tune into the weather, the wildlife, the colour,” Tom says.