London SE1 website team

Borough Market to launch food school

Children from Charles Dickens Primary School were on hand on Thursday to help launch Borough Market's GBP 250k fundraising campaign to create the UK's biggest food classroom.

Children from Charles  Dickens Primary School
Children from Charles Dickens Primary School at Borough Market

Pupils from the Lant Street school took part in activities to increase their understanding of food – where it comes from, seasonality and traceability.

The proposed 'Food Centre of Excellence' comes at a time when high profile figures such as Jamie Oliver are raising public awareness of British children's lack of understanding of how food is produced and where it comes from.

Borough Market Trust, a registered charity, aims to raise 250,000 to refurbish the building at 1 Cathedral Street to create the Food School.

It is envisaged that the school would be a classroom for children and school groups to learn about healthy eating and how food is produced. In an era where food education is limited to supermarkets and sell-by dates, Borough Market and the Food School would provide an opportunity to learn how to identify, source and cook fresh foods.

The school will also provide a way for young people to be introduced to employment opportunities in the food sector. It is expected to feature an advanced cookery school for chefs and local people who want to understand food better. There will be classes on how to feed a family healthily on a budget and other hot topics.

It will also act as classroom for specialists. Lectures will be given by Borough Market's own market traders – for example, Neal's Yard international cheese lectures.

The Food School will be twinned with other European food education initiatives such as Barcelona's Boqueria market, which has a classroom and syllabus for school children.

"Issues of food traceability, integrity and meaning are so important," comments Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm. "By developing the Food School, people will be able to draw on the expertise of the different stallholders at Borough. Customers can ask questions, get advice and recipe ideas."

The launch was timed to coincide with Socal Enterprise Day. Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social purpose. Social Enterprise London – based at London Bridge – is a specialist agency that promotes community, best practice and skills development for the social enterprise sector.

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