New Farm Classroom Tackling Childhood Obesity

A new farm classroom designed to help tackle childhood obesity was officially opened by Somerset County Council this month.

The new classroom called The SHED@Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton, will help school children and young people understand the link between school meals, food production, cooking and healthy eating.

It will also be used as a teacher training base for activities linked to growing, farming, forest school and health.

Cllr Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am delighted Somerset County Council is supporting such a great venture. It’s a wonderful way to encourage schools to get out of the classroom and onto a farm to learn about growing food, healthy eating and nature at its source. I’m sure the children will enjoy their visit and remember it for a long time.”

Childhood obesity is a major national health issue. Results from the 2016 National Child Measurement Programme show that in Somerset 19.9 per cent of children in Reception (aged 4 and 5) were either overweight or very overweight, which is below the England average.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council, said: “Childhood obesity is an issue for us here in Somerset, and nationally. Figures for England show that childhood obesity has increased since 2014/15 in both reception and year 6. This not only affects children’s health and well-being as a child but also determines their health and wellbeing going forward into adulthood.

“In contrast with latest national statistics, Somerset saw a drop in excess weight for both Reception children from 23% to 19.9% and in Year 6 from 31.6% to 28.7% in 2015/16. The new classroom at Frogmary Green Farm is one more way to try and help this downward trend continue. Children will be able to learn about healthy eating and where their food comes from in a beautiful and natural setting.”

The farm not only boasts a new classroom which can be used in all weathers, but also a forest school, playing area and a vegetable and herb garden.

Claire Bragg, owner of Frogmary Green Farm said: “The importance of children knowing where their food is from is so great and unfortunately it’s something people are actually forgetting. So, to show them what’s going on here at Frogmary Green Farm is incredibly important.”

The opening and further details about the classroom and its benefits were captured in a video available on YouTube at

Further details about Somerset County Council’s Public Health team can be found at http://www.somerset.gov.uk. Information about Frogmary Green Farm can also be found at http://www.cypsomersethealth.org/f2f_pro.

Ends

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email: pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to editors

  • Photo attached shows (from left to right) – Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health (SCC); Fiona Moir, Health Promotion Manager (SCC); Nick Bragg and Claire Bragg, owners of Frogmary Green Farm and Cllr Christine Lawrence.
  • The new facility is part of the Council’s Public Health team support for schools to deliver Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEe).
  • The idea for ‘Field To Fork’ in Somerset grew out of the ‘Infant School Meals Strategy’ set up by Somerset County Council in 2014/15 to equip schools to be able to cook or serve school meals.

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