Growing appeal for Norfolk pupils

The Norfolk Food Discovery project teaches children how food is produced. This week Life Matters talks to Kaci Gray from North Denes Primary talks about her farm visit to the Raveningham Estate.

In a place such as Norfolk where much of its prosperity grows from agriculture, and with healthy eating becoming an important part of leading a full life, knowing where food comes from and having the skills to cook healthy meals is one of the life-skills children need to have.

With chicken nuggets, chips and burgers temptingly easy to cook, the Norfolk Food Discovery project aims to educate not just children but also their parents how to cook quick and easy meals that are healthier to digest.

Last year children from six primary schools in Norwich and Great Yarmouth learnt how to grow, cook and enjoy eating good food.

And this year the premise is the same – children will see where food comes from by visiting farms and meeting food heroes, learn to grow their own produce from seed, harvest their produce and learn how to cook delicious meals.

The project which educates children about how their food is produced from plough to plate is managed by Christabelle Dilks.

'Over three years the Country Trust's Norfolk Food Discovery project will give 540 primary school children, and their parents, from the neediest areas of Norwich and Yarmouth the chance to grow and cook their own food.

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'This is the second set of children to take part in the scheme and it looks like it will be just as successful as the last one,' she explained.

Life Matters is following the children from schools in Norwich and Yarmouth as they embark on their food discovery.

This week we meet Kaci Gray, from North Denes Primary, who talks about her farm visit to the Raveningham Estate.

'My class went to visit Raveningham Estate. I felt excited because I had never been to a farm before and didn't know what to expect.

'We were introduced to Jake, our tour guide for the day. Firstly we had an exciting ride on the back of a tractor. It was very bumpy and fun!

'On the way we saw lots of sheep, which ran away when they saw our tractor coming!

'Our first stop was the time garden. This was divided into four different sections each for a different season. Next to the time garden was a hill which we all ran up. At the top we could see the whole beautiful garden.

'Then we ran down and had a look at the sundial in the centre of the time garden. I learnt that there is a herb called thyme in the time garden!

'After that we went to the walled garden. Jake showed us all different kinds of vegetables I had never seen before such as an artichoke. We had a go at smelling different leaves to try and work out what vegetable they were from. One smelled like liquorice! Then Jake took us to the herb garden and I tried chives. It tasted like onion.

'Next we had a look at the hazelnut trees and we had to find as many nuts as we could on the ground. We opened them up to see if there was a nut inside but mine didn't – a squirrel had already got to mine first!

'We walked around to the greenhouses and Jake got all of us a bit of fresh carrot to eat. It was crunchy and sweet.

'After lunch we looked at the fields. Jake showed us a giant sugar beet. It was epic! We learnt that the farmers grew wheat which can be used to make bread and pasta.

'Next to the wheat field was a 'giant bird table' which was a field especially for the birds. We had a race across it.

'I saw a hare and me and Sophie saw the hole where it lived.

'My favourite part of the day was the tractor rides because I liked seeing the different things as we went past. We all had a fantastic day!'

The Norfolk Food Discovery Project, devised by educational charity The Country Trust and funded by the Big Lottery, will teach 180 children how to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs over the next nine months. They'll learn how to cook up their crops to make delicious meals, visit three local farms, run a farmers' market and meet local food heroes. You can read the children's reports here each week. Next week: sowing the first seeds on our allotment!