Bedford children spice up their skills in the kitchen and school garden

Children across Bedford have been learning essential cooking and gardening skills, as part of a community programme teaching them to prepare healthy, affordable meals from scratch and grow vegetables from seed.

This initiative is the result of a partnership between Food etc., a Bedford-based community organisation that delivers cookery workshops, and national food education charity School Food Matters, which has for the first time brought its Young Marketeers programme to Bedford.

Dozens of children identified as benefiting the most, including young carers and children who are being homeschooled, have been taking part in the programme since Spring this year.

The cooking sessions, led by Food etc., have seen children learning to make a range of simple, budget-friendly dishes, including vegetarian pizza, veggie sausage traybake, roasted vegetable soup with soda bread, and tuna and sweetcorn fishcakes.

The gardening sessions, run by School Food Matters, have given children the opportunity to grow food in school gardens with the help of expert gardeners. The children will go on to harvest and sell their fresh and tasty produce to the public at Bedford Market on Wednesday 3 July, 12-2pm.

Food etc. Founder and Director Julie Clay said: “The more we talk to the children at our cookery sessions about vegetables, the clearer it’s become that lack of knowledge about which vegetables are which and where they come from is widespread. Bringing this great programme to some of the schools we already work with has brought wide-ranging benefits and we hope to be able to roll it out to more schools in the future.

“It’s also helped us secure funding from the Harpur Trust and St John’s Hospital Trust to enable us to deliver veggie-based cookery sessions where parents and children cook together and learn to make cheap and healthy meals which they eat as a group or take home to share with their families.”

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