Education students at Leeds Beckett are helping primary schools across West Yorkshire to teach children about healthy diets and avoiding food waste as part of an initiative by the Real Junk Food Project.
As part of the Fuel for School initiative, the team helped to create an education pack containing a range of interactive classroom activities for primary school children aged between six and 11. It is designed to be used by teachers of any subject to support both the National Curriculum requirements for cooking and nutrition and the goals of Fuel for School.
Fuel for School began as a partnership between the Real Junk Food Project and Richmond Hill Primary School in Hunslet. The aim was to remove hunger as a barrier to learning, highlight the importance of nutrition and wellbeing in learning, and raise awareness of the vast amounts of wasted food.
Richmond Hill joined forces with the Real Junk Food Project to provide free breakfasts to all 600 pupils at the school and found that this had a positive effect on their behaviour, concentration and attainment. This was followed by a community pay-as-you-feel café and daily market stall in the school grounds.
Fuel for School is now working with more than 35 primary schools in the Leeds area, delivering surplus food once a week, which is used for breakfast clubs, ingredients in cooking classes, or through school market stalls.
To cope with the increasing demand for information, the Leeds Beckett students were tasked with developing educational resources and activities which both support Fuel for School’s core values and provide an opportunity for pupils to use some of the surplus food provided in the classroom.
The new educational pack was launched recently at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus, where Adam Smith, Founder of The Real Junk Food Project, Nathan Atkinson, Head Teacher Richmond Hill, and Kevin Mackay, Co-ordinator of Fuel for School, presented and demonstrated the work to a range of schools from across West Yorkshire.
“It has been a privilege to work on this project”, said Dr Anne Temple Clothier, Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Education. “It has been a delight to be engaged in a multi-disciplinary team and to co-create social innovation. This innovative project has greatly enhanced the professional development of the students and their employability. Working in a range of problem solving sub-groups, they experienced situations mirroring real-life professional practice.”
The Real Junk Food Project was founded four years ago by Adam Smith, who was appalled to find out that around one third of all food produced across the world ends up in landfill. Adam started with a pay-as-you-feel café in Armley where food that would have been wasted is cooked and served by volunteers. Food can be paid for by either money or time and labour. This has led to an international network of 110 cafes which has, so far, saved more than 107,000 tons of food from being wasted.
Adam has now opened England’s first pay-as-you-feel surplus supermarket in Pudsey.