From Farm to Fork. Real education for our children.

October 25, 2012 by The Co-operative Food f2fIMG_0522-new

Modern life brings changes and advances to farming as it does to pretty much everything; these are driven both by a demand for efficiency, but also a greater awareness of the need for responsible farming. While we can debate the benefits of some advances, it’s certain that most of our children are now further removed from the countryside and farming processes than ever before.

At The Co-operative we believe that an understanding of our food and where it has come from is an important part of encouraging healthy eating, and where better to start that understanding than with school children? We farm over 50,000 acres and run an exciting education programme with schools on many of our farms – we call it From Farm to Fork.

The Co-operative has been farming for over 100 years, promoting a responsible attitude to the countryside and respecting both the habitats we farm, and the wildlife we impact though our activities. The From Farm to Fork programme has been designed to give primary school children a real life farm experience, igniting a passion for fresh, great quality ingredients and an understanding of the full process from planting, growing, harvesting and processing. They’ll also see how we take care of the wildlife that shares its habitat with our crops and the importance we put on responsible farm management.

Today we grow cereals, oil seed plants, fruits – including apples for The Co-operative’s lovely ciders, as well as root vegetables and peas. Our farms can be found all over the country; from Down Ampney in Gloucestershire where we farm cereals and collect honey, right up to Blairgowrie in Perthshire where we grow gorgeous Scottish strawberries and carrots.

80,000 children have been on the From Farm to Fork programme already and it’s loved by children and teachers alike. A teacher who visited the cereal farm at Stoughton in Oxfordshire with her pupils recently said that she’d been teaching for twenty years yet the farm was the best school trip she’d been on! At Stoughton part of the visit sees the children learning about cereals and even making their own muesli – there aren’t many adults who can claim to have done that. Another has teacher who has done four visits to Stoughton so far says she can’t wait to go back again.

Visitors from Preston Street Primary in Edinburgh went to Borders where we grow cereal crops and potatoes. They loved their rich discussion of the journey our foods go on. At Borders the story is brought to life by tracking the transformation of corn to corn flakes, and surprisingly the modern process isn’t that different to the one invented by the Kellogg brothers way back in 1894.

For further information or to arrange your primary school’s trip to a local Co-operative farm take a look at our booking page: http://www.co-operative.coop/farms/from-farm-to-fork/locations/

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