Cambridge school children consider where their food comes from with Kids Country
Kids Country, the East of England Agricultural Society’s education outreach programme, returned to the Bellbird Primary School, Sawston, Cambridge, last week, where over 120 children aged 5-8 took part in a Grow Your Own event, with zones led by Burgess Farms, G’s Fresh, Pecks Ltd and Central Co-op.
Maja Rix, year one teacher at Bellbird Primary School, said: “With Kids Country, the children can see and take part in activities that they may otherwise not get the chance to do. The activities encourage the children to consider where their food comes from, and we are really looking forward to breakfast week with Kids Country in November.
“We choose to work with Kids Country because they offer hands on experiences in school. Coaches are expensive and so for such a big group of volunteers to come to us is unusual. They are extremely well organised.” Kids Country previously visited Bellbird Primary School in October 2022 to deliver and Autumn Apples event and are booked in to return for a Breakfast Week activity later this year.
The children rotated around activities including seed potato planting with Burgess Farms, lettuce planting with G’s Fresh, tractor discovery zone with Pecks Ltd, and a healthy choices workshop with Central Co-op. Kids Country will return to harvest the potatoes in school later this summer.
Looking after the lettuce planting zone, Nikki Pritchett, Resourcing Manager at G’s Fresh, said: “G’s are happy to support events like the Kids Country Grown Your Own event to teach children where their food comes from, how it is produced, what we do to protect the environment and how it is important to have a healthy diet.”
Caroline Williams, Agronomy Manager at Burgess Farms, has supported the event for several years, she said: “We are proud to support the ‘Grow your Own’ initiative, which gives so many children a chance to have some hands-on learning of how our staple foods are grown. I hope the children will enjoy watching their potato plants emerge from their pots and nurturing them over the next few weeks to grow a good crop of their own new potatoes.”
The Central Co-op Healthy Choices workshop is always a popular zone with the children. Kym Cooper, Member and Community Relations at Central Co-op said: “Central Co-op is always keen to make a difference, and what could be better than helping teach lessons around growing and harvesting potatoes? Our purpose is to create a sustainable society for all, and getting kids stuck into gardening and growing is a great way to do that. We taught the children all about potatoes and how they can fit into part of a balance diet, along with all the ways to cook and prepare them.
“We love getting stuck in, so we were delighted to work with Kids Country, as it’s a great place for hands-on learning experiences. We can’t wait to see what grows from it!”
Ken Beard, Area Sales Manager at Pecks Ltd said: “I so much look forward to working with the Kids Country team and volunteering at their events at the local schools. I particularly enjoy seeing the small children and their reaction when they see the big shiny tractor turn up at their school, I’m sure it makes their day for many of them. They are always so inquisitive and ask so many questions.”
Kids Country is one of the biggest education programmes managed by an agricultural society, the East of England Agricultural Society, and Sandra Lauridsen, education manager, said: “We love our Grow Your Own Produce event, and it is fantastic to see that the children clearly do too! Nothing beats getting your hands in soil and planting something that you can then go on to look after and finally eat, it is truly field-to-table, and the children love it, especially as we come back to harvest the potatoes in the summer, and children then take them home to eat.
“We have a whole host of tried and tested field-to-fork activities that we can bring into schools, and we are always ready to talk to schools about developing bespoke events too – please do get in touch!”
Kids Country are supported by a range of corporate sponsors and volunteers, local farmers and food producers, and individual volunteers. If you would like your workplace or school to be involved in any way, or to volunteer as an individual please contact firstname.lastname@example.org