Harvesting success for children at Kids Country event

Over 400 local school children recently returned to the East of England Showground, for a dedicated Kids Country event, to harvest an abundance of potatoes and beetroot that they had planted earlier on in the year.

kids eating beetroot

Ely-based producer G’s, were on hand to demonstrate the virtues of beetroot

Over 400 local school children recently returned to the East of England Showground, for a dedicated Kids Country event, to harvest an abundance of potatoes and beetroot that they had planted earlier on in the year.  Following from the successful crop planting day, that the showground hosted in March, the children aged from 7 to 14 years old returned to discover the fruits of their labours.

The free annual event aims to engage with its young audience using a variety of interactive an informative workshops to teach children all about food from field to fork.  A whole host of organisations, such as the Potato Council and volunteers were on hand throughout the day to share their knowledge.  These included a team of experts from Produce World, who supervised the weighing of the potatoes, cropped by each school, and presented the carb loaded accolade of potato crop winner 2014, to Parnwell School for their plentiful harvest.

On the day children got to roll up their sleeves, and get their hands dirty taking part in some picking and riddling potato activities.  They also got to learn first-hand how the humble spud was harvested during the 1930s, Land Army style, with a re-enactment led by Violet (aka Annie) and Newborough Farmer Nick Harris.  The young visitors were given the opportunity to step back in time with the help of a team from Albert Bartlett, who talked the children through the history of farming, highlighting significant changes within the industry and demonstrating how today as one of the country’s major producers, they manage potato crops on a huge scale.

The children aged from 7 to 14 years old returned to discover the fruits of their labours

The children aged from 7 to 14 years old returned to discover the fruits of their labours

Sandra Lauridsen East of England Agricultural society’s Education Manager, said:  “Giving children the opportunity to learn about food and farming through events such as these is invaluable and we wouldn’t be able to hold these events for free if it wasn’t for our sponsors and supporters.  Who deserve a big thank you.  A perfect Chinese proverb sums up the principle behind our event which is; tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember.  Let me do it and I’ll understand.  Helping children to learn about where there food comes from, why it’s important for their health and how much fun it can be to get involved is a great way of instilling skills for life, outside of the classroom environment.”

The potato wasn’t just the star of the day, Ely-based producer G’s, were on hand to demonstrate the virtues of beetroot and oversee the harvesting of the plants sown earlier in the year, which the children had nurtured at school and at home over the past few months.  Willing participants also got to taste the super food and particularly loved the way that it turned the tongues red!

A foodie focussed workshop was also organised enabling the children to make their own potato salad, with produce kindly donated by Parripak – My Fresh, and a recipe demonstration from Steven Parr from Peterborough Regional College and April Sotomayor from PECT, who together demonstrated how to make a potato salad, and why fruit and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet.

Sandra continues: “I think all the children left the showground understanding a lot more about potatoes and beetroot than when they arrived, and thanks to local crisp company Pipers, they also had a snack for the journey home.”

The Kids Country team has no time to draw breath as it now turns attention to its Food and Farming Day on 11th July when nearly 6,000 children will engage in activities lead by over 250 educators at the biggest children’s event the City of Peterborough has seen.

For more information about the Kids Country Education Programme and Food and Farming Day visit www.eastofengland.co.uk.

 

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