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Pupils get on board with healthy cooking

18th May 2012

Almost every Primary 7 pupil from the Strath had a treat this week (15-17 May) when the Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus visited Aviemore.  Parked at MacDonald Highland Resort, the giant, hi-tech articulated lorry opened out into a spectacular purpose-built kitchen and classroom where qualified food teachers gave pupils and teachers a taste of quality healthy cooking using local ingredients from the Cairngorms National Park.

The Cooking Bus is part of the Healthier Scotland programme and is funded by Scottish Government and Food Standards Agency Scotland to improve the health of children and families in Scotland. The week in the Cairngorms is part of the LEADER funded Cairngorms Food for Life project which aims to increase the use of fresh, local, seasonal produce.

Scottish Minister for Public Health Shona Robison said: “The Cooking Bus is a fantastic way to teach children some of the basics about where our food comes from and how to cook healthy, tasty meals. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated and that is an important lesson for the young chefs on the Cooking Bus.

“As part of Scotland’s first-ever national food and drink policy we are encouraging people to develop healthy eating habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. This, along with our joint action plan to improve diet and increase physical activity, will help to tackle the serious problem of obesity and invest in a healthier future for Scotland.”

The Cookery Bus is run by the Focus on Food Campaign, the leading organisation supporting the teaching of cooking in schools and communities across the UK.

Lessons took place under the expert eye of Advisory Teacher Susan Blackwell, whose planned programme of cooking activities is tailored to the age of those taking part. “The Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus provides pupils with a unique opportunity to take part in a ‘hands on’ practical cooking session or activity. The Cooking Bus approaches the teaching of nutrition and healthy eating in accordance with the Curriculum for Excellence and sessions are designed to inspire young people to learn about the social importance of food in their diets, school and wider community. The majority of participants agree that the recipes are practical, do-able and economical and they leave the Bus feeling empowered to try the recipes at home and appreciate the dietary value and economic sense of home cooking.”

As well as teaching cooking, nutrition and food safety and hygiene, the pupils also heard about what produce is available in the Cairngorms National Park and used products such as local fish from Delfour Hatchery, free range eggs from Glebe Farm, carrots and potatoes from Ness Gro and as much other fresh vegetables from the Cairngorms National Park as the season and weather allowed.

Brid McKibben, Cairngorms Food for Life Development Officer, said: “Learning about growing and cooking food are important life skills which have the added benefit of teaching health and wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and much more in a fun and applied way and at any level of learning.  Our project supports schools to develop their vegetable gardens, run cookery clubs, and provide opportunities for children to learn where their food comes from.”

For more information contact: Susan Blackwell, Advisory Teacher on the Healthier Scotland Cooking Bus on 07917443278; Brid McKibben, Cairngorms Food For Life Development Officer on 01479 870512.