ISS’ school catering teams celebrated gardening and plant-based eating in the run up to half term 17th-28th May 2021 by engaging with schools nationally to encourage pupils to try more healthy, natural foods.
The caterers partnered with Innocent Drinks, who run their own ‘The Big Grow’ initiative and sponsored the fortnight with classroom gardening kits, seed packs and gardening themed prizes.
Week one kicked off on 17th May, alongside Public Sector Catering’s Plant-Based Week, and included a host of exciting foodie themed events for primary school children to get involved with.
All children at participating schools had the opportunity to try plant-based guest dishes and tasters (including saag aloo and beetroot hummus) during lunchtimes throughout the week. Additionally, over 750 pupils joined live virtual foodie sessions hosted by ISS’ chefs and nutritionists, where children watched plant-based cooking demos, took part in food themed activities and talked to our nutritionists about tasty vegan-friendly ingredients.
The second week involved gardening themed virtual sessions, supported by ISS’ long-standing partner and gardening expert, Chris Collins. Over 1,200 children joined Chris for online practical sessions, where they talked growing tips, planned gardens and planted seeds.
A teacher at Sunnyhill Primary School commented:
“The children were really excited about designing their own gardens and they loved getting their hands dirty when planting their spinach, beetroot, radish and pea seeds.”
Steve Kemp, Sector Director – ISS Food Services, Schools concluded:
“Every year we love to try something new with our spring Green Fingers campaign. Last year we were mid-pandemic, so held a wholly virtual celebration; this year we were able to do a great blend of both online and in-school engagement.”
“We have been delighted with the uptake of the virtual sessions and great responses from those children and teachers who attended. Using digital tools to engage kids with food education means we can reach more children, so it’s definitely something we’ll continue, along with in-person visits when we can.”