A taste of the great outdoors

3rd April 2017

3 April 2017

Why not make the most of the lighter evenings by ditching the kitchen and eating outside instead?

Take inspiration from Meriden Adventure Playground.  The community group provides local children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a hot meal and a taste of the great outdoors. Below they share how surplus food redistributed to them by FareShare West Midlands is making a positive difference to the children and young people they support. Plus playworker Ellen shares her recipe for Crispy Campfire Potatoes.

“Eating in the outdoors gives children a break from the day”
Children at Meriden Adventure Playground who receive surplus food redistributed to them by FareShare.

Playing outside is important for children’s development. It reduces stress, increases Vitamin D and provides a unique learning environment.

Campfires, rope swings and mud pies – playing outdoors is often amongst our most treasured childhood memories. Birmingham’s Meriden Adventure Playground runs a range of outdoor activities to ensure that local children and young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, don’t miss out.

Food saved from waste by FareShare is helping to fuel those activities. Meriden serve up snacks and an evening meal to 250 children a week and when the weather holds, everyone gathers round the playground campfire for singalongs and, of course, barbeques!  The scheme is particularly important during the school holidays, when the children who’d get a free school meal in term time might be hungrier than usual.

Making good use of the food they get from FareShare West Midlands, staff and children have been peeling and chopping up surplus fruit and veg to create their own sensational smoothies.

[quote]FareShare foodie tip: Our Press Manager Jen says “Make the most of brown bananas by baking them on the BBQ wrapped in tin foil. Add chocolate buttons for a sweet and gooey treat.”[/quote]

Senior Play Worker Simon Rix told us “We started to provide food as a response to some of the behavioural issues we were seeing in the playground. When children are hungry, they can’t play, and this can prevent other children playing as well. It’s amazing the difference a good meal can make. Eating in the outdoors gives children a break from the day. Everyone sits down and eats together – there’s a real sense of community.”

Play Worker Ellen Delaney added  “The food we get from FareShare West Midlands makes such a positive difference to the children who come to us in the evenings. Last night we cooked potatoes on the camp fire until they went golden and crispy – which the children loved – so thank you FareShare!”


[quote]Waste Not Recipe: Ellen’s Crispy Campfire Potatoes

Playworker Ellen cooks su

Playworker Ellen gets the campfire going for veggie soup

Ingredients
Oil
Potatoes (peeled and diced)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Find a frying pan you don’t putting on your barbeque — a thick bottomed pan with a metal handle is best. Wait until the coals on your barbeque or fire pit are white hot (usually half an hour after lighting it), and place your pan on a tripod or grill. Heat five or six tablespoons of oil in the pan and fry your potatoes in batches until they’re golden brown, taking them out with a slotted spoon and resting them in a tray lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil. For a Mediterranean twist, add a few cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary to the pan while cooking.

Warning: your frying pan handle will be hot! Use a tea towel or an oven glove to protect your hands…[/quote]

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