Hackney's field-to-fork cooking school opens in Lower Clapton
- Credit: © 2013 Mark Hewlett
The Hackney School of Food has officially opened, with MP Meg Hillier praising the project for its potential impact on children's health.
While the school officially opened on September 11, it has already been offering regular cooking classes to students from primary and secondary schools across London.
Children at the school help grow and harvest fruit and vegetables. They then learn to turn the produce into meals.
Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, attended the launch party and said: "Local children have a fantastic space to come and learn and cook. It’s the very best of facilities – the Rolls Royce of classrooms."
The MP added that cooking and eating together tackles many issues, "boosting mental health and stopping loneliness".
"On this estate and at this school we are ahead of the curve, food is grown and nurtured in different spaces for local residents. Long may this go from strength to strength," Ms Hillier said.
The project, which caters for all ages, has seen pupils launch pizza ventures from the site and become development chefs for the meal delivery company Tastily.
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It was founded by Louise Nichols, executive head of the LEAP Federation, Henry Dimbleby and Nicole Pisani, co-founders of the school food charity Chefs in Schools.
They saw potential in a disused building and began fundraising to create a food hub that would benefit kids, chefs and the community.
Louise Nichols said: “When I think back to what the site was like – a rundown building and piece of wasteland, it is incredible to see how far we have come.
"The gardens are thriving, the children are receiving an amazing education. But we couldn’t have done this without the support of the community and the many people who donated time and money."
A Teddy Bear’s picnic for children under five and their parents who are considering applying for a place at Mandeville school, which is part of the LEAP Federation of Schools, is being held on October 20 at 9.30am.
The picnic will include a tour given by the headteacher of the early years classrooms and the Hackney School of Food. Book your place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about the school at www.hackneyschooloffood.com
Find out more about Chefs in Schools at www.chefsinschools.org.uk