Primary Schools in Northern Ireland will be given the chance to learn more about food and where it comes from as part of a major new UK-wide food education programme. Farm to Fork, the first initiative from The Tesco Eat Happy Project, is backed by supporters including Diabetes UK, the Children’s Food Trust and the NFU. From the end of February kids will be able to go on educational Farm to Fork trails in factories, on farms and in supermarkets, for practical demonstrations of where food comes from and how it is made.
The ambition is to take one million of the five million primary school children in the UK on the Farm To Fork trails in the project’s first year. Through technology, classes will also have the opportunity to talk to food suppliers across the world, for example banana growers in Costa Rica, through Google+ hangouts and live video chats, using Google’s Connected Classrooms. Tesco is also partnering with Sorted Food, Europe’s largest social media cooking channel to engage children with content that makes cooking fun and accessible.
The Tesco Eat Happy Project is a commitment to improving children’s relationship with food and it forms part of the company’s wider ambition to help and encourage all of its customers and colleagues to lead healthier and more active lives. With eating habits starting in early childhood, Tesco aims to help primary school children learn and have a healthier relationship with food.
The project launches as new research from the Future Foundation reveals that even though 90 per cent of kids say they know which foods are healthy, fewer than ten per cent achieve their five-a-day target. More than half (52 per cent) believe potatoes count towards the total, and one in ten (10 per cent) also count carrot cake.
The Future Foundation report highlights parents’ concerns about their kids’ relationship with food: two-thirds believe children eat much more convenience food than they did and an astounding eighty per cent say their kids are less healthy than they used to be as kids. Half of parents fear the impact of their children’s diet on long-term health. In light of these findings, Tesco is pledging £15 million to the Eat Happy Project in the first year alone.
Farm to Fork is the first initiative of the Eat Happy Project. Developed in close working with teachers and in line with the curriculum, Farm to Fork will involve:
- Specially trained colleagues in more than 700 Tesco stores across the UK teaching kids about different foods and giving practical demonstrations, for example baking bread, tasting new fruits and vegetables and learning all about fish.
- Food suppliers across the country opening their farms and factories to teach kids how, for example, milk is produced, where eggs come from and how lettuce grows.
- Tesco partnering with Sorted Food, Europe’s largest social media cooking channel. The Sorted team will help to engage people with content that makes cooking social, fun and accessible.
- An innovative new partnership with Google’s Connected Classrooms, through which Tesco will become the first company in the UK to offer educational “virtual field trips” for primary schools to talk to producers and Tesco colleagues around the world.
- A dedicated website with lesson plans, recipes and “how to” videos for children, parents and teachers.
The Farm-To-Fork trails and Connected Classrooms will be open to every primary school in the UK including those in Northern Ireland.