S1 pupils from Waid Academy in Anstruther, Fife, have been competing for the opportunity to develop a new food product.

The innovative education and industry partnership, which has involved the school, a thriving Fife business, the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, and the Fife Food Network’s “Food from Fife” team, has been warmly welcomed all the way to the top level of the Scottish Government.

It will result in two brand new healthy soups appearing on the menu at the highly popular Balgove Larder farm shop, butchery and café near St Andrews.

Owner Will Docker has challenged pupils to develop the soups using locally sourced ingredients, and the efforts of two winning student teams will have menu listings for a limited time.

Throughout the project around 140 pupils have worked in teams across curriculum subjects such as art and business education, to develop their new soups.

Their work has included researching existing soups available on the market, experimenting with new flavours and textures, developing marketing, packaging and nutritional information, and applying and understanding good hygiene and food safety techniques throughout.

The partnership is supported by the Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF) as part of its ‘A Future in Food’ national schools programme. A Future in Food works to build partnerships between Scottish schools and food and drink businesses, helping teachers, pupils and parents better understand where their food comes from, how it is produced, and what careers are available in the sector.

Stuart Logan, PT Curriculum – Technology Faculty, Waid Academy, said: “By working in partnership with Balgove Larder, learners have been given a fantastic opportunity to develop their understanding of how a local business in the food and drink industry operates, while developing a wide range of skills. Our S1 learners have relished the chance to work together to learn about what it takes to develop a product and take it to market. Learners have benefited greatly from the opportunity to take part in activities which expand their curricular knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s food and drink industry.”

Will Docker, owner of the Balgove Larder (A Food from Fife member), said: “We are so excited to have teamed up with Waid Academy on this initiative. Food, and in particular good quality fresh local produce, is so vital to the development of children and our general health. Encouraging the pupils to think about practical and commercial applications for the use of local food is a great opportunity to expose them to really interesting business challenges, while incorporating an element of fun to the project. But the real essence of the project is to help make the pupils aware of the fantastic local ingredients we have here in Fife. We’re really looking forward to seeing what is produced and good luck to all of them.”

Richard Lochhead MSP, Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry is one of our country’s success stories, thanks to the outstanding natural produce that we have on our doorstep. There is a wide range of rewarding career opportunities available in food and drink. The A Future in Food programme helps young people become more are aware of these career opportunities, equipping them with the skills that they would need for a career in this vibrant, growing industry.”

Moira Stalker, SFDF Schools Programme Coordinator, said: “The staff and pupils at WaidAcademy have excelled themselves in the work they have undertaken. Partnerships like this with industry help us to promote the food and drink industry in a positive way. They also help to demonstrate the variety of jobs and skills required by employers and will hopefully encourage more people to think of food and drink as a positive career choice.”

The activity has also received additional support from the Food from Fife network.

Viv Collie from the network’s ‘Food from Fife’ team, said:

“Helping the Waid Academy pupils make practical, direct contact with a thriving local food business such as Balgove Larder had been very rewarding. The business owner has unbounded energy and enthusiasm, and the staff and pupils at Waid have thrown themselves into the project. The opportunity for real, hands on learning through SFDF’s A Future in Food schools programme is an excellent way of helping youngsters to understand how high quality food is produced and handled from field to plate.”

The photograph shows Will (light blue shirt) with a group of pupils, staff and people involved in the judging 

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