THE Mayor of Swindon has stressed that educating young people about food is the secret to solving childhood obesity.
Teresa May made the suggestion while accompanying pupils from Gorse Hill school around Tesco yesterday, as part of the store’s Farm to Fork Trail.
“This is the secret to the problem with children eating the wrong things. They’re learning information from professional people about the food they’re eating, and where it comes from,” she said.
The Farm to Fork scheme has been running nationwide since March, as part of Tesco’s health-conscious Eat Happy Project. Swindon’s Ocotal Way branch has welcomed schools daily since the scheme started, organising fun-filled foody activities for five to six year olds.
Michelle Hobbs, Community Champion for Swindon’s Farm to Fork Trail, explained why the 15-year scheme is important.
“It’s all about teaching children to know where their food has come from,” she said. “We lay out different types of fruit, vegetables and cheeses on a table for them to try. They go behind the scenes visiting the bakery, holding fish from the fish counter and getting a tour of the freezer.
“We’ve had a great response from the schools. Some of the children have made us big thank you cards which is really rewarding.”
Jo King was a parent helper on the Gorse Hill school trip.
“It’s been brilliant for the children to try food that they might not otherwise try. To see this all in action is great,” she said.
Summer, aged six, was one of the 28 children who took part.
“It’s been really fun. My favourite part was going into the freezer, but it was really cold,” she said.
Tesco’s Ocotal Way team this week also welcomed cancer survivor Vanessa Denman, who has started volunteering for Farm to Fork as part of her recovery from breast cancer.
“I consider myself to be a valued customer at Tesco, and throughout my treatment they’ve been a great support. When you’re not able to work with cancer, it is so easy to get stuck inside. It makes you feel very insular,” she said.
“I’m really enjoying it here. It keeps me in a routine and I am so grateful to the staff for their help.”
The Farm to Fork Trails run free of charge at Tesco stores around the country. Schools can sign up at www.tesco.com/eathappyproject.