January's Tip of the Month

Januarys Tip of the Month

17 January 2013 - One step closer to your Food for Life Partnership Bronze, Silver or Gold award!
Tick off the Bronze criteria for … Food Education

Welcome back! Spring will soon be springing and things are starting to come to life down on the farm, in the garden, and the kitchen too! Enjoying a healthy and seasonal diet is just so easy in the spring.

Farm Links

Before long, lambing season will be in full swing and let’s face it… what is cuter than a new-born lamb?
With the better weather ahead, it is a perfect time to get out of the classroom and onto the farm. In order to ensure that your farm visit goes well, it is important that your day is well planned. There is no time like the present, and to support you with this, we have a number of documents to ensure your day runs smoothly and safely. Visit our farm web pages where you will find some great advice on organising a pre-visit, generating funding and everything you need to know about health and safety.
We have a national network of Food for Life Partnership recommended farms who are experienced in supporting schools before, during and after their visits. Just add your postcode into our new ‘Find a Farm’ facility to find the nearest recommended farm to you.
For support on setting up your farm visit, tips on raising money and bringing the curriculum to life, do not hesitate to contact Will Marcombe, our friendly Farm Links Officer at wmarcombe@soilassociation.org

Growing - In the garden this spring term, you might want to start ‘forcing’ rhubarb, seakale and chicory.

Rhubarb is forced by placing an up-turned bucket or pot over the plant to exclude light. The warmer the environment the quicker it will grow; you can place manure or straw over the top to encourage growth of the pale, sweet shoots. Seakale is forced the same way, only there is no need for extra warmth.Chicory is treated differently. Dig up well-grown chicory roots from the ground, pot up, and then cover with an upturned pot. Keep in a dark, warm place (10-14°C / 50-57°F). The sweet chicons (forced pale shoots) will be ready for late winter salads in about 4-6 weeks.
Sow onions in January, as onions from seed need a long growing season. You can raise them in modules on a warm windowsill for planting out in March.
Another tip to get organised for the spring is to start collecting plastic bottles for cloches. The sawn-off plastic bottles will protect individual young plants from slug damage. Be sure not to trap a slug inside!
Get more growing tips from Garden Organic here.

Cooking - For lovers of fresh green vegetables, this is our favourite time of the year to get cooking.

The list of delicious Spring vegetables is endless, from asparagus, cauliflower and cabbages, to spinach, spring onions and watercress. Some of these tasty vegetables, such as asparagus have a short season, so enjoy them while you can! English rhubarb is a lovely vegetable too - yes rhubarb is a vegetable!
Try our Rhubarb Crumble Cakes recipe on Cook School Fresh. Quite a number of cooking preparation skills are used when making this scrumptious recipe so it’s a good one for older primary pupils and younger secondary students. With fresh spring vegetables flourishing, you only need minimal preparation and cooking to bring out maximum flavour. Have a look at Focus on Food’s Cook School Fresh App for some of our springtime recipe favourites - Broccoli and Bean Salad or Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry are particularly delicious.

Food Education Criteria
Bronze: We organise an annual farm visit, and this is linked to wider learning.
Bronze: Our pupils have the opportunity to take part in cooking activities, and this is linked to wider learning.
Bronze: Our pupils have the opportunity to grow and harvest food and make compost, and this is linked to wider learning.

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The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising school meals, reconnecting children and young people with where their food comes from, and inspiring families to grow and cook food.

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