Our ‘Field to Fork’ project with a local school has been recognised as an exceptional collaborative initiative delivering both environmental and social benefits.

The project, which involved our food technology and horticulture students, pupils from Wrenbury Primary School and a former Michelin star chef, won the Next Generation Learning and Skills category at the Green Gown Awards UK and Ireland 2022. The Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges world wide and as a national winner, we will automatically be entered into next year’s International Green Gown Awards.

Our ‘field to fork’ project enabled the school pupils to learn first hand about sustainable food production and healthy eating by encouraging them to grow their own vegetables and use them as ingredients in nutritious meals which they helped to cook and then shared with their family.

The recipes were created for us by Simon Radley, former Executive Chef and Director of Catering at The Chester Grosvenor, who taught our Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management students how to prepare each meal. Our students then used their new skills to supervise the pupils as they prepared the same meal in our Food Centre.

After their cooking sessions, the pupils enjoyed further ‘hands-on’ learning in our glasshouses by planting vegetable seeds in readiness for their next recipe, and also looked at the sustainable growing systems in our vertical farm. These sessions were supervised by Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture students, who also benefitted by growing their own skills and confidence.

Wrenbury Primary School visited us for four half days and the sessions proved very popular, with some of the pupils recreating the meals at home for family members.

The project was described by the judges as an excellent initiative with obvious environmental and social benefits and an outstanding example of how a smaller institution could really make a difference by building local partnerships. They were also impressed by the strong possibility that it will become an on-going project.

Iain Clarke, Assistant Principal, (Land based and Sustainability), who received our Green Gown award at a gala ceremony at Loughborough University, explained that the initiative was a key part of Reaseheath’s overall sustainability strategy and was aimed at giving the school pupils an understanding of the full journey, from crop growing and harvesting to final consumption.

He said: “We were against stiff competition and the only college finalist in our category, so I was absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Reaseheath team that worked so hard at organising the project, the operational detail and the award nomination bid.

“We are developing the project further by engaging with a wider range of schools and chefs from different cultures. This will make an even bigger impact on our local children and hopefully on the lives of their families, as they will be eating the very best of local, home grown and sustainable food and, importantly, understand where their food actually comes from.”

Our Principal Marcus Clinton commented: “We are very proud to have been awarded such a prestigious and relevant national award. As a leading land-based institution, we recognise that this initiative aligns perfectly with our own vision for a forward looking curriculum with increased emphasis on sustainability and innovation, healthy eating and climate solutions”.

The Green Gown Awards are administered by the Environmental Association for Universities (EAUC), a not-for-profit charity which supports sustainability within the post-secondary education sector.  It has a membership of over 220 universities and colleges.

For further details visit https://www.greengownawards.org