The Secret of My Success by Herbie the Carrot
My friend and mentor Arnold Fewell came to work as the School Meal Manager at North Yorkshire County Council in 1985 Arnold had previously worked as a hotel manager for Trust House Forte. As soon as Arnold arrived he immediately understood that something was wrong. The quality of food being used was not very good, the take up of meals was not very high and the potential to improve financial performance was not understood risking the viability of the service.
Arnold was looking for someone to lead the drive to improve healthier eating habits and increase meal take up. This is where I came in and Arnold asked me to help out. What better way he said on how to put the fun back into school meals than a six foot carrot. I became central to the strategy to increase meal numbers, buy better quality food and introduce more salads and healthier options.
I was an immediate hit with everyone. I had my own stories to tell, songs to sing and guest appearances to make. The take up of meals took off and within three years had grown from 21% to 60% helping to ensure the service remained affordable.
Although I am now a 30 year old carrot and have made thousands of appearances I still love my job and continue to make school visits to promote my message – Herbie “Healthy Eating Really Better in Everyway”.
So what is the reason for my success? This is easy. I am fun, have a simple straightforward consistent message which everyone understands; I do not cost a lot to keep which means what I do has never been subject to budget cuts and most importantly I have always had a great team behind me.
North Yorkshire’s school meal service continues to strive for excellence based on the work I did thirty years ago. I am immensely proud that although many of the original team have now changed the principals of home cooking, using fresh locally and regionally sourced produce remain and still have a great team to support me!