Edible Essex is delighted to announce that a pupil from Birch C of E Primary School in Colchester has won first prize in the Packed Lunch Plot Competition. 

The competition launched last September by Edible Essex, in collaboration with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, invited primary school children to plan what they could grow in a small plot and invent a recipe for a healthy packed lunch using the produce.

The school wins £1000 worth of equipment for their school garden, £50 gardening vouchers, RHS CPD courses for their teachers, the chance to cook the winning recipe at the ‘Can Cook Will Cook’ kitchen at Ashlyns and the opportunity to plant the plot at RHS Hyde Hall!

The judging took place yesterday at RHS Hyde Hall.  Judges Peter Seabrook and Peter Miller from Kings Seeds assessed how practical the plot was in terms of vegetable/fruit selection and the attractiveness of the design. Meanwhile Essex chef, Charlie Stocker, looked at the recipes to see if they would work and how suitable they would be as a packed lunch.  The winning entry needed to score highly in both these areas.

Out of 1555 submissions, the judges unanimously selected the entry by Emily Lawrence, a year 6 pupil at the school. Emily’s plot included lavender to attract bees to help with pollination and Pot Marigolds to attract pest-eating insects like ladybirds. Both of these were used as ingredients in her ‘Summer Sunshine Pasta Salad’ and ‘Lavender Cup Cakes’ recipe.

Peter Seabrook, gardening writer and television broadcaster, works with many primary schools across the country.  “I am very impressed with the entries and amazed at how tastes have changed over the years!  In my day we took a sandwich to school, and here we have recipes for risottos, curries and salads!”

Edible Essex Project Manager, Sophie Blythe, was delighted with both the number and standard of the entries.  “The aim of the Edible Essex project is to encourage more people to get involved in growing their own food. The response to this competition has been fantastic and shows that young children really can get excited about food – even packed lunches!  The competition is a fun way of promoting both healthy eating and the growing of fruit and veg in the school grounds or at home”.

Runners up include the Reception class at Rettendon Primary School with their “The Red and Gold Lunch Box” idea of honey beets and carrot waffles, and Alexandra Gilks from Brentwood Preparatory School, who designed a tasty ‘Crispy Aromatic Duck and Green Salad’.  Both runners up win £250 of gardening equipment for their school, a gardening voucher and a RHS CPD course for their teacher.

We would like to thank all the Essex primary schools who took part in the competition.