Fitting into the bigger picture

Whilst we aren’t yet campaigning to influence government policy we do believe that what we are doing makes a difference to the families we deliver to. Our schools are in the most deprived areas of Staffordshire, we know that the families who attend our schools are in the most need of help and we know that the children at our schools have higher levels of obesity – all issues that need to be addressed.

It was reassuring to realise that whilst we aren’t a food aid project delivering food to people in crisis, our aims of educating families and helping them to have access to healthy fresh produce on a regular basis puts us right up there with many of the larger organisations who are campaigning for the exact same thing.

We have chosen to set up as a market stall at our schools as part of the education of our families. Handing out bags to parents enables us to engage with them and talk to them about the food, the recipes they have tried or could try and to interact directly with the children.

Are we making a difference?

Yes we are! We are one of a large number of small organisations all working towards a similar goal. The food is a vehicle for opening up the conversation and enabling us to influence a cultural shift in cooking and healthy eating for the families that receive the food. We are steadily influencing children who watch their parents collect fresh food and then get to try it at home. We have seen an increase in the number of children asking if they can have some fruit to eat whilst queuing to collect their bag, which is fantastic to see and something to encourage. Whilst we aren’t currently influencing schools to change their lunch offering, if we can help families to eat more healthily at home with their children then we do make a difference.

The Facts

Increase in the number of families who now cook  their meals from scratch

Increase in families now eating fruit and veg as a snack at least once a day

Increase in families including fruit and veg in their diet more than half of the time

Of survey respondents have tried out recipes we provided

Of survey respondents said their children now try new foods regularly

Of survey respondents said they now think about where their food comes from

Of survey respondents now said that they buy fresh food more often after collecting a Farm Fresh bag

Of respondents now buy a greater variety of fruit and vegetables after collecting a Farm Fresh bag

What else are we doing?

£20 family food challenge

The aim being to encourage families to cook seven evening meals from scratch using the ingredients from our Farm Fresh Revolution bags plus additional ingredients costing £20 (that’s 28 meals for £20!). We will be providing them with a pack which includes the shopping list and recipes and plan to work with the schools to get as many families on board as possible. The aim of this is to show parents that it’s possible to cook healthy meals from scratch for a low cost.

Cooking Lessons

From September we will be providing one cooking lesson a term to each school with an experienced family cooking teacher. We want parents to feel confident in cooking and knowing how to make a meal plan to encourage them to cook more regularly from scratch. Our aim is to go into each of our schools once a term and teach a group of 10-15 parents some basic cooking skills, which they can, in turn, pass on to the children.

Taster Sessions

We have been into several schools with a variety of dishes cooked by us, recipe cards, cost breakdown and given parents and children the opportunity to taste them. Many children have tasted curry and casserole that we were told they categorically wouldn’t have tried before or eaten at home! At the events we talk about healthy eating, child health, nutrition and cooking skills, and what to put into a healthy lunchbox.

National Farmers Fresh Produce Day

we are developing a scheme with LEAF run similarly to Open Farm Sunday, where farmers bring their fresh produce into schools annually on one day of the year and help people to understand more about how fresh produce is produced and be able to taste it, as well as helping to educate people about healthy eating. If you are a farmer who might be interested in getting involved please do get in touch with us.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Sally is an Ambassador along with many other people involved in food projects worldwide. It’s good to see what else is going on and is trying to integrate some of their aims into our projects to contribute to an international programme of food change for children. The current campaign is to encourage government to legislate and protect our kids from junk food ads #AdEnough.

Funding

We aim to look for funding from private individuals and local companies once we have charitable status. We will continue to fund the project but would ideally split the funding between us and other funders for sustainability.

LEAF Education

A national food and farming organisation that develops links with the public and delivers education on food and farming. Sally is involved in their Education and Public Engagement strategic committee which is allowing us a platform to see what is happening in farming and food education and giving us a voice to input our experience from both Farmlink and Farm Fresh Revolution.

FarmLink

All schools are now linked into our education project where we teach Key Stage 1 & 2 children about farming and food production. Several schools are coming to the farm for the day to learn about where their food comes from, and the importance of farms as well as healthy eating. Other schools are having talks at their school on the same topics or related topics that fit into their current curriculum projects.

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