Somerset school children have been ‘down on the farm’ at an open day set up by Somerset County Council to increase their understanding of how food gets from ‘Field to Fork.’
Over 210 children from seven Somerset schools (Hinton St George, Neroche, St Barts, South Petherton Infants & Juniors, Kingsbury Episcopi and Ash) spent the day at Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton, seeing how farm food production is linked to the food on their plates and the rural environment they live in.
The farm, owned by Nick and Claire Bragg, is funded by Somerset County Council to run schools visits as part of its Field to Fork project. The visits are led by members of the farm team in conjunction with Somerset Play Forum.
The idea for ‘Field to Fork’ in Somerset grew out of the ‘Infant School Meals Strategy’ set up by Public Health at Somerset County Council in 2014/15 to equip schools to be able to cook or serve school meals.
Somerset Public Health are keen to help schools, children and young people understand the association between school meals, food production, cooking and healthy eating as part of broader work to reduce excess weight in children.
Cllr. Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want to achieve better health for our families and residents. As a rural county there are wonderful opportunities available to us, more so than in many other parts of the country. The ‘Field to Fork’ project is a wonderful example of how we can explore these opportunities and help Somerset thrive through close partnership working with our communities.”
The heart of the Field to Fork project will revolve around a proposed Learning Hub based on the farm site. When built, the hub will offer an all-weather outdoor classroom facility for up to 25 people, a vegetable garden and fruit area with greenhouse, outdoor storage, compost area and toilets. The Frogmary Green site also offers a teaching kitchen and conference rooms for events and training programmes.
The recent Farm Open Day was attended by County Councillor Christopher Le Hardy, Cabinet Member for Corporate Improvement at Somerset County Council.
Councillor Le Hardy said: “I have supported this project from the Health and Wellbeing Fund at Somerset County Council for the past couple of years, because I believe it is so important for children to understand where the food they eat is grown and how important it is to eat healthily.
“Britain has wonderful countryside which we all love; but at the end of the day it is indeed a food factory that we need for our survival. It is very important children understand the connection between the environment in which they live, what we grow and nurture in our fields and the food they eat.”
They all wanted to thank the Bragg family from Frogmary Farm in South Petherton and the small army of over thirty volunteers.