Marcus Rashford has been on a mission to push child food poverty to the top of the media and political agenda in the UK — and he isn’t stopping any time soon.
First, he forced the government to u-turn after it initially refused to support children who recieve free school meals during the school summer holidays.
Then he spearheaded a food poverty task force with big-name chefs, charities, and food companies, and has since called out the poor standard of substitute free school meals delivered during the pandemic.
He’s also started tackling educational poverty: in March, he launched an initiative to get books to the estimated 390,000 children in Britain who don’t own any. And now, he wants to educate young people on an issue close to his heart — teaching them how to cook affordable food.
The Manchester United footballer and activist has teamed up with Michelin-starred celebrity chef Tom Kerridge to help. The aim is to help children and young people on low incomes cook nutritious food and make food go further on a small budget.
The pair will launch a series of 5-minute “how-to” videos in a series called “Full Time”, according to the Guardian. Each recipe will cost between 25p and £1 a portion and will use few kitchen appliances: for example, without scales, and often using no more than a single pan for most of the recipes, Kerridge has said.
Episodes will appear on the Full Time Instagram page every Sunday morning for a year — a specific start date hasn’t been given yet, but updates can be found through the page. Recipes will be familiar, the chef said, as he wanted people to get over the “fear factor” around cooking.
Recipes will be things like fish finger sandwiches, chicken stir fry, broccoli and cauliflower cheese, and fish pie, the chef said.
Food insecurity had been a mounting problem in the UK even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but charities have warned that the economic impact of the pandemic has made food poverty worse.
According to research from the Food Foundation think tank, 14% of families with children had experienced food insecurity in the six months between March and September 2020, rising from 11.5% from before the pandemic.
The Food Foundation reported that 10% of parents and guardians had seen food insecurity impact their children, affecting an estimated 1.9 million children. Within that number, many had to rely on only a few low cost food items to feed their children (6%), and having to rely on unbalanced meals (5%), while 2% had children who were forced to skip meals.
Kerridge and Rashford both grew up in low-income households and experienced food poverty. They were both eligible for free school meals, a benefit for families on the lowest incomes which means children receive at least one hot meal at school each day.
Rashford admitted that he hadn’t really done much cooking before these sessions. In fact, he said he had never even peeled a carrot.