Project to help Norfolk primary school children grow food is shortlisted for national award

The Norfolk Food Discovery Project has been running for the past year and teaches children where foo

The Norfolk Food Discovery Project has been running for the past year and teaches children where food comes from. In the final part of the project children from North Denes Primary cook up the food they have grown and harvested for a feast for their peers. Tutors whipping the cream to go in the Eton Mess. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

A ground-breaking project which has helped hundreds of Norfolk's poorest primary school children grow their own food from seed and turn it into delicious family meals has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Norfolk Food Discovery project will now compete against two other projects in England in the education and learning category of the Local Food Recognition Award 2013.

In 2010, the project won a £199,524 grant from Local Food, which distributes Big Lottery Fund money, to help make locally-grown food accessible and affordable to communities.

The project has taken students to local farms to find out where their food comes from, and helped parents learn about food growing.

This month, children created farmers' markets in their playgrounds, and they are now harvesting their crops to cook up celebration harvest feasts.

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Janet Clay, headteacher at Henderson Green Primary School, in Norwich, said: 'This is undoubtedly one of the very best projects I have ever had involvement with.

'It has had a powerful impact because of the very full approach to food production it has.

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'I have heard children talking positively about food – the food they are eating, their growing appreciation of new foods, and a real understanding of how vegetables are grown.

'This project has been hugely motivating for the children and has probably been one of the reasons that Beech class have outstripped the rest of the school on attendance this year.

'They won't remember the lesson on fractions but they will remember the day they ran a farmers' market. What a gift.'

The Local Food Recognition Awards celebrate some of the hundreds of community projects Local Food has funded since 2008.

All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the awards in four categories, and the shortlisted projects will be judged in September, with the winners unveiled in November at an event at The Lowry in Manchester.

Mark Wheddon, Local Food programme manager, said: 'All our projects have made a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they are based, helping local people in all manner of different ways to access, grow, prepare and understand the benefits of fresh, healthy food, so to be shortlisted for an award is a tremendous achievement.'

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