City Corporation's vision for a Food School in Barking and Dagenham takes shape with introduction at historic Billingsgate Market

A new pilot food school located at the historic Billingsgate Fish Market opened its doors to schools from Barking and Dagenham, as an introduction to the City of London Corporation’s vision for a permanent food school in the east London borough.

The City Corporation is developing plans for a food school at the new markets site in Dagenham, which will train tomorrow’s market traders, providing the skills required to develop our future butchers, fishmongers, and fruiterers – whilst strengthening the future resilience and prosperity of the wholesale food markets and the competitiveness of the traders. In collaboration with the London council, the project aims to complement the council’s ambitious plans for the creation of a food hub in Barking Town centre and improve health and economic outcomes in the borough.

An introductory course for students from several primary and secondary schools from Barking and Dagenham was held at the pilot food school, included a tour of the wholesale fish market and covered a variety of topics, including the nutritional benefits of fish, the role of fish in a healthy diet, the sustainability of the UK seafood industry, the different types of fish available in the UK, and how to choose and prepare fish.

Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, Chris Hayward said:

“I’m delighted the food school has opened its doors to schools from Barking and Dagenham, providing a glimpse into this exciting vision for a new educational facility in the heart of this east London borough. Through collaboration with Barking and Dagenham council, this project aims to equip the next generation of butchers, fishmongers, and fruiterers while enhancing health and economic outcomes in the local area."

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, added: 

"We are committed to seeing real growth and investment coming into our borough, but we know this must have a real impact on our residents. Teaching our youngsters very early on about opportunities available to them means they are best placed to benefit from this growth.”

The relocation of Billingsgate Fish Market and Smithfield Meat Market will see the City Corporation invest nearly one billion pounds into Barking and Dagenham and will act as a catalyst for the development of a food economy in the local area, supporting town centre activities and revitalising the area.