Interview - Ady Delaney, Chef and nutritionist

Katy Morton
Friday, October 18, 2013

Ady has launched a new project, Vegeville, to teach young children about the importance of good nutrition.

The chef and nutritionist previously worked with nursery group Busy Bees to encourage children at their settings to eat more fish.

What was the inspiration behind your new project?

I had the idea for Vegeville more than 15 years ago, while I was at university studying for my nutrition degree, after working as a nursery cook.

I realised that there is a lack of knowledge and resources available to teach children about healthy food and how eating it can have a positive impact on later life.

Children love learning about fruit and vegetables, how they are grown and what they taste like, but there is no vehicle available to nursery staff and parents to do that.

You've launched the project with a series of children's books. What are the stories about?

I've written ten stories based on ten characters that are all vegetables. I've tried hard to include important messages in the books. The first book that has been published is called Tomatina's Feeling Blue and is about a tomato who changes colour from red to blue because she hasn't eaten enough vegetables.

The books, which feature activities for children to do and tips for parents, are more than stories - they are talking points. I hope they will kick-start discussion among children about where vegetables come from, what you can do with them, and their health benefits.

The first book has been sent to a number of nurseries to use with the children. What has been the feedback so far?

The feedback has been very positive. My daughter who I named one of the characters after - Lois the Leek - also loves the books.

Towards the end of this year or beginning of next year, I am planning on doing a countrywide tour to introduce my books and project to nurseries. I would also like to carry out training with staff at early years settings on basic nutrition using the characters in the books.

How else are you spreading the word about the project?

There is a Vegeville website with nutrition advice. This includes food tips for early years, along with activities, recipes, growing, as well as information on the training I run.

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