North Shropshire MP and Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson joined Woore Primary School on a visit to Dorrington Hall Farm for a ‘Chef on the Farm’ day. The 23 children from years 4-6 spent the day on the farm, discovering where their food comes from and learning to cook with top chef Idris Caldora.
The visit, hosted by farmers Steve and Jane Ellsmoor included a woodland walk, a tractor and trailer ride around the farm, chance to meet the livestock, and thanks to great timing, the children were even able to help deliver new-born lambs.
Donning an apron, Owen helped the children in preparing the healthy fruit salad dessert. The children also made lamb burgers from fresh lamb, raised on the same farm.
Chef on the Farm is a joint initiative between charities Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA)’s Chefs Adopt a School. It aims to help children develop a better relationship with their food, through learning about healthy eating, cooking, nutrition, farming and growing.
“My favourite bit of the day was trying to get the lamb out”, said Lauren, one of the children who helped to deliver a baby lamb, which was named Laurence in her honour. Her friend Katie said that her highlight was also holding a recently-born lamb.
Owen was impressed by what he saw, saying “I really admire what FACE and RACA are doing, bringing the excitement of food and farming into young people’s lives.”
Headteacher, Mrs Faye Cull said of the visit “It’s been a wonderful day and an amazing experience – watching lambs being born as well as having great food with a real chef. The children were incredibly focused and listened to Chef intently. We would love to come back every year.”
Farmer, Steve Ellsmoor said “It’s brilliant to have children with such enthusiasm and showing their enjoyment”.
Sara Jayne Stanes of RACA said “Sessions like this to link food and farming are crucial to children’s understanding about the food chain. It’s also brilliant because the children roll up their sleeves and have a go, and some might then consider careers in farming or hospitality”.
Dan Corlett of FACE said “While people can feel quite disconnected from the land and their food these days, events like this will last in the children’s memories for ever. On the farm, there isn’t a moment wasted, as the children learn about nutrition, cooking, geography, biology, careers, and even bits of numeracy and literacy”.