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St Ives School pupils get a healthier start in life

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 03, 2014

  • From left, students Thai Merrill and Maia Uys, both aged 12, with Julia Birchall, St Ives School horticulturalist, and Louise Reynolds of Healthy Boxes. Cornwall Food and Drink

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PUPILS from St Ives School have shown they're top of the class when it comes to getting their five a day.

The school has been encouraging students to grow their own produce on site and eat it through a vegetable box scheme called Healthy Boxes.

Healthy Boxes is a veg box scheme with a difference, it supplies tasty local vegetables to customers but instead of going to their doors, it drops them at collection points across West Cornwall called 'Healthy Hubs'.

Each Hub has a 'Healthy Helper' who coordinates the orders. St Ives School has been a 'Healthy Hub' for some time and has a core group of members including school staff who order their boxes every week.

Boxes are delivered weekly to reception and taken to the school staff room for collection.

The school has a strong focus on healthy eating and horticulture within the curriculum, with two on-site greenhouses, allotment space on the school fields, a nearby tree nursery and indoor lessons in gardening and nature.

Now Healthy Boxes has pledged to provide plants and seeds to the department to encourage the youngsters.

Stephanie Hirtenstein, horticultural learning mentor at the school, said: "The students love being outdoors growing stuff – the physical activity and fresh air is really good for them and allows them to focus their enthusiasm on something they can cultivate and nurture.

"We are educating them to take a real interest in where their food comes from, learn about seasonality and taste different varieties of fruit and vegetables. If we can give them the skills to grow their own vegetables from scratch then we are setting them up to be confident and self-sufficient adults in their later lives, not to mention healthier."

Healthy Helper Julia Birchall said: "Healthy Boxes is a great scheme and perfectly complements the work we are doing at the school to introduce the students to horticulture.

"Since we've been a 'Healthy Hub', several staff members have come on board and we are keen to get more parents involved too. The fact that Healthy Boxes can accept Healthy Start vouchers as payment too makes it an affordable and easy way for local families and their children to eat more vegetables."

Louise Reynolds, who runs Healthy Boxes, which is based at Trewidden Farm, near Penzance, said: "We are passionate about bringing super fresh good value vegetables to West Cornwall communities.

"Our season-less supermarkets mean we have lost touch with when fruit and vegetables taste their best.

"Setting up a Healthy Hub is easy and can work for people in so many different types of settings. We think it helps foster a sense of community and can add real value to a business or organisation while spreading the message about eating healthily."

Check out the website www.healthyboxes.co.uk or give Louise a call on 07966 897561 for more information.

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