11 March 2022
School children learn about potatoes' history and growth
MORE than 200 school children from Peterborough and the surrounding area were able to plant potatoes and lettuce, as well as learn about how potatoes are grown and the local history of potato farming with the East of England Agricultural Society’s education initiative, Kids Country.
With a focus on letting children get their hands dirty, the event was supported by local fresh produce businesses, Produce World and G’s Fresh, and local Fenland potato farmer, Farmer Luke. The children will all return to the East of England Showground in June to harvest their potatoes, with prizes for the biggest yield.
Farmer Luke gave his top tips for looking after the potato plants, whilst the teams from Produce World and G’s Fresh helped the children understand how the produce gets from field to fork through their factories. Farmers Annie, Clive and Mary also brought the history of Fenland potato farming to life with videos and re-enacting how potatoes were planted by hand.
Charlotte Dowding from G's Fresh said: “It is so important for us to be involved in educating children where food comes from, for them to get their hands dirty and grow some vegetables.”
Agronomy Manager at Produce World, Caroline Williams, said: “We are really proud to support the 'Grow your Own' initiative. It’s good to see the event supported by so many local schools and give children a chance to have some hands learning experience of how our food is grown. I hope the children will enjoy watching their potato plants emerge from their pots and nurturing them over the next few weeks to grow a good crop of their own New Potatoes. We look forward to seeing their results at the Harvest Day in June.”
Children planted the ‘Jackie’ variety of New Potatoes with Produce World.
Schools that took part were Leighton Primary School, Newark Hill Academy, Orton Wistow Primary School and William Law C of E Primary School. Kids Country has also delivered Grow Your Own Produce in their ‘event in a box’ format to Guyhirn Primary School, Ken Stimpson Community School and Wisbech St. Mary Church of England Academy, enabling those schools to benefit from the planting experience if they were unable to make it to the Showground.
Kids Country Education Manager, Sandra Lauridsen, said: “It was great to deliver this event face-to-face with the children back at the Showground. For children, nothing beats this kind of learning, touching and feeling with your hands, and seeing with your own eyes, as well as speaking to the farmers who grow this food for us.”
Sandra continued: “We are really looking forward to delivering more events for primary schools in 2022, especially our Food and Farming Day on Friday, July 1st, which we have had to run as a virtual event for the last two years with over 2,000 school children already signed up to attend at the usual venue, the East of England Showground.”