Connecting farm links, cooking, growing and school meals leads to real learning
Resource: Case study
As one of the very first Food for Life Partnership Gold schools, St Andrew’s in Shifnal, Shropshire, is a shining example of a school that does everything really well in its quest to transform its own and the wider community’s food culture.
What they've achieved
St Andrew’s has developed strong links with Greenacres, a local organic farm run by a parent, and uses this relationship to create a whole school experience around healthy living and eating healthily, enhancing all areas of the curriculum. Older pupils have made their own video entitled ‘Peas on a Plate’, about the values of growing organic vegetables, and they have also written and produced web-based information leaflets about the farm. And children in Year 1 invited their parents to the farm to help them choose salad vegetables when designing their own healthy lunch boxes.
Besides growing vegetables at Greenacres Farm, pupils are also involved in the school garden. Produce from the garden is used for lunches and in the cooking club, and the recipes from the cooking club are published on the school’s website to encourage the children to cook them at home with their parents.
What they say
Farmer Mark Lea says: “I find hosting school visits extremely rewarding. I love the enthusiasm which children naturally have for the environment in which I work and the experiences my farm can provide. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be involved in a really valuable part of their education.”
And Gemma, a class representative for the SNAG. says: “I really like gardening and the Food for Life Partnership has helped me to help others enjoy gardening, too. I think the school has become more aware of healthy living. School dinners are really tasty, different every day and I look forward to eating them.”
The difference it makes
The Food for Life Partnership programme has clearly made a real impact on all aspects of school life, and is now fully integrated into the curriculum. Visits to the farm are used to create many real-life situations that inspire all areas of the curriculum, including science, geography, literacy, numeracy and ICT – from monitoring the weight and growth of chicks as part of numeracy and science lessons
to creating maps of the farm as a way of examining how coordinates can be used.