Hi! I’m Joanne Roach and I’m the creator of The Foodies Books project. We're here to help you to encourage the children in your life to grow, cook and eat a range of tasty, affordable, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Thanks for taking the time to find out more.
When my children were very young, we set up a little veggie patch in our front garden. We grew quite small amounts of fairly basic fruits and vegetables, but our children loved planting them, picking the leaves and digging things up. We lived right next to a primary school, so we invited them to bring groups of nursery and reception children to the garden to look at the plants, guess what they were, and taste some things. It was a lot of fun.
As you might expect, some children could name a few of the vegetable plants, but most of them couldn't. They were little. Lots of adults couldn't have named some of them. It was fun helping them to guess and find out, and watching their amazement at realising that the weird leafy thing covered in soil in their hand was the same thing they had eaten last night, washed, peeled and chopped.
The first December, a group came to the garden to dig up carrots and pick some Brussels sprouts. "Where are the strawberries?" asked one boy. I replied that they don't grow in December. He looked disappointed, replying: "But I've got some in my lunchbox!" I tried to explain that some strawberries are grown inside, a long way away, and come here in a boat or a plane. I was chuffed that he had fruits and vegetables in their lunch, but I imagined those strawberries - pale, mealy and bland, as so many out of season strawberries are - and wished they could be the strawberries of June, bleeding juice down his chin and making his cheeks ache with their tart sweetness. The following November, the same exchange happened with a different student, and this time the garden was covered in a blanket of snow, but the children were still baffled by the lack of strawberries.
I realised that most children (and a large number of adults) don’t have any idea that some foods only grow when it is sunny, or taste better in the winter. I wanted every child to have this advantage. How could I help children who had no veggie patch, no garden at all, or no adults in their life who have the confidence to show them how to grow? How could I get them to recognise, and feel comfortable with the most basic, affordable vegetables and fruits, and to discover that the most ordinary plants could be a delicious adventure? This is how The Foodies was born.
Why does this matter? Because when fruits and vegetables are in season they almost always cost less so it’s easier to eat more healthily. They can often be grown more locally – helping local producers and reducing transport emissions. They are sometimes more nutritious because of their growing conditions and because they haven’t been stored for long. But MOST importantly for children – they usually taste better! If we want children to love fruits and vegetables, we need to make sure they taste delicious. Eating seasonally makes your plate more appetising but it also makes it more varied because you can’t eat the same thing all year around.
It’s really important to me that everyone feels they can eat a more exciting, adventurous and tasty diet. Many people think that eating more fruit and veg is expensive, and that you need fancy equipment to cook well, or a big house with a big garden or allotment to grow anything. But anyone can grow something small on a windowledge, anyone can cook something delicious if they know how, and anyone can afford to eat a little more healthily if they know which foods to buy and when. You don’t need to eat goji berries, pak choi and mango to get your vitamins – humble British produce like cabbages, carrots and apples have “super” attributes too, they can taste wonderful and they often cost pence.
The project has grown as people have asked for more resources to help. We now have the books, teaching resources, courses, videos and more. So whether you're a parent or a childcare or education professional, I hope this site will make your life easier. Take a look around, join our community if you like, tell me if there is anything you need that isn't here, and let me know how you get on. But let's all work together to help our children to have an exciting adventure with food!
Now enough about us... what's YOUR story?
What have you come here hoping to find?
I'd love you to tell me, then just maybe I might be able to make it possible.
Please email me here and let me know what you're looking for. I will definitely read it and I will reply.