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Chef Nairn says ‘barking’ if kids’ school veg unused

Celebrity chef Nick Nairn, who is to attend an event at the Maitlandfield House Hotel in Haddington later this month.

Celebrity chef Nick Nairn, who is to attend an event at the Maitlandfield House Hotel in Haddington later this month.

A row is simmering this week over why more of the vegetables grown in Selkirk High School garden are not regularly used in school meals.

Former Selkirkshire councillor Kenneth Gunn, taking part in a discussion on school meals on Louise White’s morning news show on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday, highlighted what he said was a ridiculous situation at the royal burgh’s secondary.

Mr Gunn explained that, although the school had a garden where pupils grew vegetables, these were not allowed to be regularly consumed in daily school meals.

And he said he was informed this was because, to allow it, could affect the contract Scottish Borders Council had with the company supplying school food.

Asked to comment during the radio show, top Scottish chef Nick Nairn,a long-time campaigner for improvements to school meals, responded: “It’s barking mad if the kids are growing veg which they are then not allowed to eat. We have to look at what is going on in school dining rooms, because we’re missing a major opportunity.

“We need to improve the value we place on school meals. Food education and school meals have to be elevated in our society.”

However, SBC hit back, telling The Wee Paper the “modest amount” of veg grown in the school garden is used in home economics classes or taken home by pupils.

A spokesmanperson said: “In general, if any veg grown at a school was used as part of a school meal it would be for specially promoted dishes or seasonal items, and would have minimal impact upon food supplied into schools.

“This is actually encouraged, especially in our primary schools.”

But Mr Gunn says the school could grow much more vegetables on the ground available and believes it is a wasted opportunity.

He commented: “What incentive is there for youngsters to eat more vegetables when they see most of the stuff they grow at the school not being used by the school in its own daily meals?”

 

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