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Nutgrove Allotments received funding from the Big Lottery Fund in order to create a community plot on the site. The Nutgrove Allotments Plotholders' Association received the grant and their hard work and dedication has seen the funding help create raised beds for community use as well as the installation of a solar and wind powered classroom.
The Executive Development Chef for St.Helens Schools Meals Service, Andrew Ferguson, has been working on a number of projects across the borough to promote healthy eating within schools, encouraging pupils to try a variety of different fruit and vegetables.
Andrew has established a relationship between Nutgrove Community Allotment and Nutgrove Primary School, which will see the school take on the management of the community plot allowing children the opportunity to sow seeds, nurture the seedlings, harvest the crops and learn how to cook the produce harvested.
Since working with pupils, Andrew has noticed they respond better to trying new foods when they have had direct involvement in the handling and cooking of such foods, and believes that this project will help promote healthy eating in pupils at Nutgrove Primary School.
The project will also provide further educational opportunities for the pupils, who will be able to learn about wildlife on the allotment, the science behind plant life, and the understanding of providing electricity for the classroom by wind and solar power among other things. It will provide pupils with experience in an open-air natural environment and exercise walking to and from the allotment, adding extra value to the project.
“Nutgrove are excited to begin a partnership with the Nutgrove Allotments to teach our children the value of growing and eating healthy produce. We are looking forward to learning about how to grow our own fruit and vegetables and will be eating these during our lunchtimes at school. We are very happy to working with such a forward thinking community group.”
Mrs L Chamberlain (business Manager) and Mr C Chuard (Year 6 Teacher)
Pupils have been working hard on the allotment weeding, sowing, tidying and harvesting. Pupils have harvested nearly 10kg of Desiree potatoes, which have been used in the school kitchen to make potato salad, oven baked potato wedges and they have even been included in the pupils' lunchtime hotpot!
Carrots, pumpkins, swede, radishes, salad leaves and beetroot have all been planted with pictures below showing their progress.
A competition entitled Parent Masterchef was held at Rainhill High School and Grange Valley Primary School.
Parents entering the competition were asked to create a dish that meets the school food standards and to submit a recipe and evidence of costs of the dish to a judging panel, with the best recipes selected and invited to a grand final cook-off. The contestants were then asked to cook their dish for a judging panel, with the winning dish finding a place onto the school menu in some form in September.
The winning dish for Rainhill High was a Chicken Lasagne inspired by Mexican enchilada flavours, cooked by Ms Laura Roberts and her son Thomas. Congratulations!
At Grange Valley the dishes were judged by a student panel consisting of a Student Council member, and the winning dish was Minted Lamb Burgers served in pitta pockets with houmous, created by Vicky Mather (pictured below - right). Well done!
Mini MasterChefs at Broad Oak Primary School swapped the classroom for the kitchen as they took part in the Children’s Food Trust Big Cookathon.
The annual event aims to show children and adults across the country how fun cooking can be by encouraging them to cook and eat a healthy meal made from scratch.
The children got to grips with preparing a true British classic, the Cottage Pie, with assistance from St Helens Council’s executive development chef, Andrew Ferguson, and members of the council's Healthy Living Team.
“Cooking a meal from scratch is an essential life skill which, I believe, should be encouraged from an early age,” said Andrew.
“Not only does it educate children about healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle – but the job itself is creative and great fun for all the family to get involved in.”
Melanie Hignett, Head Teacher at Broad Oak, added: “Taking part in the Cookathon enabled the children to solve a range of different problems, as the task involved a perfect mixture of all three of the main curriculum subjects: English, maths and science.
“It was fascinating to watch the children work together to prepare and cook a Cottage Pie which, may I add, tasted absolutely delicious.
“We’re already looking forward to taking part again next year.”
Andrew Ferguson, Executive Development Chef for School Meals Catering Service, served up some tasty recipes for year 1 and year 2 pupils at Garswood for them to replicate.
Master Chefs of the future cooked up a treat at Garswood Primary School as classes went head-to-head at the Garswood Ready, Steady, Can't Cook, Won't Bake Off.
Having been presented earlier in the week with their five ingredients consisting of cream cheese, pineapple slices, carrots, fresh beetroot, tomatoes and a limited amount of larder, the children spent the week researching recipes, measuring ingredients and preparing resources, before finally creating culinary delights such as sugar-free beetroot brownies, pineapple cheesecake, carrot cake, and many more tasty treats.
Year Six came out on top after impressing the judges - made up of St Helens Council’s catering team - particularly with their bread-making skills, but headteacher Pam Potter was full of praise for all those who took part in the event, which raised over £250 for the school.
“They’re all winners for being so creative and resourceful. Who knew you could do so much with so little?”
“Everyone had so much fun taking part in the event, but most importantly developed new skills, applied practical maths, solved problems and developed their vocabulary,” she said.