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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Schools urged to use organic food
Organic vegetables
Delegates will learn how to improve children's diets
Welsh schoolchildren should eat more locally and organically-produced food, a conference will be told on Tuesday.

The day-long event in Carmarthenshire has been organised by the Organic Centre Wales as part of a series of Welsh schools food projects.

Delegates from schools, councils and parents groups will attend "Tyfu'r Dyfodol: Growing the Future".

The programme includes a presentation on good practice when sourcing healthy food for school meals.

Delegates at the conference at the National Botanic Garden of Wales will also learn how to improve children's diets and increase their understanding of food by means of school gardens, farm visits, and classroom activities.

Consumer choices

The Organic Centre Wales, a research body based at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, said it wanted the event to show children that food had to be grown and moved rather than just bought from a supermarket.

Centre spokeswoman Jane Powell said: "They really need to know much more about where the food comes from - how to grow it and cook it, how to make consumer choices that are good for the environment and the local economy."

The centre also believes that if schools used locally-produced food they could be surer about the quality of what they were buying.

Ms Powell told the BBC News website: "I think that if you have local food you have a much shorter food chain. You get to know the people where it came from."

"It's harder to cut corners and they are more accountable."

Healthy eating

Pupils at the event will take part in a "Ready, Steady, Cook"-style challenge on Tuesday, and more competitions will be held at the garden on Wednesday and Thursday.

The National Botanic Garden is promoting a Grow Your Own Food project. Teachers and pupils will learn how to harvest food grown in their own school grounds and also how to cook it.

Trevor Roach, head of education at the garden, said it was no good teaching healthy eating if quality food was not being served in schools.

"The future of a healthy Wales is really in the mouths of our babes," he said.

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