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Planting the seed for eating five a day

15 Feb 2008

Children will be reminded of the importance of eating five portions of fruit and veg a day during a half-term botanical bonanza at the Manchester Museum.

'Plants in Disguise', organised by two PhD students from The University of Manchester, aims to show youngsters - as well as a few adults - the benefits of eating plenty of greens.

Visitors to the museum on Saturday will get to learn about some of the more unusual fruits and vegetables and examine some of the exotic plants that produce them.

The event, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), will also focus on the use of plants in everyday life.

"We are constantly being told about how important it is to eat five fruits and vegetables a day but how many of us are aware of where our food comes from," said Eleanor Taylor, who with fellow student Ghzaleh Masnavi, is running the event.
"There will be a taste station where people can taste some exotic fruits like Sharon fruits and pomegranates to encourage people to be more adventurous in their eating habits and introduce more variety to their diet"

Ghzaleh added: "Among the amazing plants on display at the museum will be the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, whose roots are used to make liquorice sweets; plants used by the ancient Egyptians for their medicinal properties, as well as fruit-producing plants such as the banana tree."

Visitors to the museum will also be given the opportunity to tour the University's botanical gardens, The Firs, in nearby Fallowfield, where they will be shown how dye is produced from plants. Youngsters will even get to dye T-shirts that they can then take home to wear.

"We have organised a number of treasure hunts around The Firs botanical gardens taking participants from deserts to rainforests and alpine regions to the Mediterranean to discover some amazing plants from around the world," said Ghzaleh.

"There will be quizzes and prizes and participants will get to plant their own tomato vine to take home and watch it grow."

The Plants in Disguise event takes place at the Manchester Museum between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, February 16. Tours to The Firs, which last one hour, will leave the museum at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Notes for editors

For further information contact-:

Aeron Haworth
Media Officer
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8383
Mob: 07717 881 563