We are really pleased to have been awarded a certificate for participating in the “Food Glorious Food” project from Devon Development Education 2017.
What is the Food Glorious Food project?
"Food Glorious Food" is a lottery-funded project organised by Devon Development Education 2017. It brings together primary school children, community groups and local people from the county through a series of outdoors and food-based activities. The idea is to make the younger generation better understand where food comes from and the impact food production has on the environment.
We were thrilled to welcome to different groups of very excited school children on a farm day experience as part of this project.
First, we welcomed 12 ‘Food Ambassadors’ from Wynstream Primary School in Exeter. Initially, the children had to ‘pitch for the job’ and get selected to become their school's official ‘food ambassadors’. This meant leaving the classroom and learning about food, farming, sustainability, waste, recycling and the environment, all under the watchful eye of Angela Redmond, their inspirational teacher.
A week later we had the pleasure to get visited by 80 school children from Whipton Barton Junior School in Exeter, under the guidance of super teachers Trudi Steer, Dee, Ruth and Jonathan.
An educational day out at Pipers Farm
More than anything we wanted the children to understand that food IS life... What you eat matters!
It quickly became evident that each of the children had different instincts and reactions to what we showed them. Gathering leaves and flowers from our 400-year-old hedgerows, some were very happy to grasp the nettle, literally, and be brave and bold, whilst others were excited by the scent of the honeysuckle!
We talked about the history of our wonderful Devon landscape and the lanes flanked by 2-3 metre wide hedges; the stark contrast between the Iron-age track, the Medieval roadway for horse and carriage, and the traffic flashing by on the motorway in the valley. Stories of villains hanging at " gibbet cross" and peering down into the ancient well at the top of the farm sparked some fertile imagination.
Several of the children worked Fly to gather sheep into the handling pens and then all of them looked on intently at the mouths of the sheep to learn about their age, how their stomachs work and what "chewing the cud" is all about! And then with the sweep net, we captured dozens of insects of all shapes, colours and sizes from the edge of the meadow, and talked about the biodiversity of the countryside... as farmers, we must have huge respect for the natural cycle and the way we farm our animals is a vital link in a truly healthy, sustainable bio-diverse landscape.
We talked about clover, fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, and then dug deep into the muck heap to understand the process of natural composting (by taking its temperature!) and looked inside a cowpat, and the children quickly changed from initially feeling squeamish to understanding that for thousands of insects it was food, health and life. There was also a bit of maths for them trying to work out the difference in size between live sheep, Saddleback pigs and big Red Ruby bullocks we stood close to, as they mob-grazed the herb-rich grassland.
For Henri and I, being part of the Food Glorious Food project proved to be an exciting and uplifting experience. We hope that these inquisitive and perceptive school children do indeed inspire their peers. We wish our leaders in education to increasingly empower passionate teachers like Angela and Trudi so the future generation understands that what we eat really matters!