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Last Updated: Friday, 4 May 2007, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Children urged to grow their own
Children on a farm near Doncaster
Children will get to visit farms as part of the campaign
Pupils in England are being urged to grow and cook some of their own food as part of a campaign to reconnect them with the countryside and their food.

Schools which sign up for the Year of Food and Farming will be offered expert help from farmers and businesses.

Their pupils will get the chance to grow and cook food and go on visits.

Recent research suggests nearly half of seven to 11-year-olds are not involved in growing food, and a quarter never visit the countryside.

The campaign argues that as children lose contact with where their food comes from, they find it harder to understand what constitutes a balanced diet.

What we hope is that every child will be involved in growing
Sir Mike Tomlinson

However, research suggests many children are willing to learn, with two thirds claiming to eat more fruit than a year ago.

Educationist Sir Mike Tomlinson, one of the original architects of the programme, said many children lived in such an "unreal world" they did not understand where much of their food came from.

"Most children do not know that their vegetables come from the ground - to them they come from packets or out of tins," he told the BBC News website.

"Also they're all perfect - there isn't even a grain of soil on these vegetables.

"What we hope is that every child will be involved in growing and every child will prepare at least one meal.

"You don't need a lot of space - you can grow carrots in a pot for example or tomatoes in a bag, but most schools have gardens."


He also hopes the programme will help teachers deliver some of their lessons, in biology and chemistry for example.

During the Year of Food and Farming itself, which begins in September, farmers and businesses linked to the campaign will offer in-school support in activities such as preparing meals and growing food.

And teachers will get assistance in taking pupils on trips to the countryside, with materials and events being displayed on an interactive map.

Schools are being urged to register for the campaign on the Year of Food and Farming website, where later they will be able to create their own "school space" to show off their pupils' achievements.


The programme's director Tony Cooke said: "From farmers to retailers, the whole food chain has got behind this campaign, so that a generation of young people can see first hand how their food is produced.

"We hope these activities will add up to a learning experience which pupils will never forget, transforming the way food and farming is seen in and out of the classroom."

Many schools have a long tradition of working with food and farming - a few even have their own farms - but the campaign hoped to create new partnerships.

It is also set to hold several big food-in-the-park events for children and parents.

  • This summer the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, in partnership with the Royal Parks, will re-create a Second World War allotment in London, celebrating the Dig for Victory campaign of the 1940s.

    Local communities and schools will tend the allotment and learn about gardening, healthy eating, history and food science.

    Pupils head to the farm for class
    29 Nov 06 |  Education

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