Frenchay Hospital chefs plant own vegetable garden for nursery school

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Frenchay Hospital now has its own vegetable garden growing fresh produce such as potatoes, lettuces and cucumbers following organic principles.

Vegetables will be cooked by the hospital chefs for children of members of staff who attend Frenchay’s Squirrel Tree nursery school.

The hospital’s catering team has the Soil Association’s bronze Food for Life Catering Mark for serving fresh meals which are free from trans fats and additives such as MSG and using a wide range of local produce in patient meals.

The vegetables will not be used in patient meals or in the hospital restaurant but the catering team hope the garden will inspire the nursery school children to learn more about where food comes from.

Gary Wilkins, Catering Operations Manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “Our chefs will put aside an hour a week to work with the nursery school children on the garden and create their lunch for them.

“We have made great strides at North Bristol NHS Trust in providing balanced meals using fresh, local produce for patients and in the restaurants at Frenchay and Southmead.

“Our new vegetable garden won’t provide food for patients or for the hospital restaurants, but if successful perhaps we can soon begin to serve some of our own produce in the restaurants.”

Becca Aylett, Manager of Squirrel Tree Nursery, said: “We are all very excited to see what we can grow in the vegetable garden and looking forward to tasting some of the meals the chefs create with them.  It is important for children to learn from an early age about the importance of healthy eating.”

The Soil Association has been working with North Bristol NHS Trust after the Trust first took part in a pilot of the Food for Life Catering Mark in hospitals.

The Soil Association supports North Bristol NHS Trust’s approach to encouraging nursery school children to learn more about where their food comes from.

Jessica Mitchell, head of policy at the Soil Association, said: “Through the Food for Life Partnership, we’ve seen the success of transforming food culture in schools – including making sure school meals are fresh and healthy, so we’re really pleased to see North Bristol NHS Trust taking this important step to provide children in Squirrel Tree nursery with a hands-on learning experience about where their food comes from.”