School farmers markets: three weeks to go

Helen Carey - 22 September 2011

Things are hotting up with the three markets now less than a month away. This afternoon I will be at Jubilee School to do the market preparation session with the Year 5 classes. We will be joined later by Baker Ben from E5 Bakehouse who is going to have a bread stall at their market and also come into school to bake bread with a group of pupils. He is going to check out the ovens today...

On Monday it was a real pleasure to be back at Poplar Primary School in Merton to join them at their first of four preserve and jam making after school sessions led by Christine (the Year 6 teacher who went on the Farm visit last June). About 12 children were busy chopping, weighing and washing apples and rosehips –harvested from the school grounds – to make the first of their preserves – Apple and Rosehip Jelly. They also made beautiful labels for the jars. The apples and rosehips were in a large cooking pot when I left, and will need to be strained through special bags and have sugar added to complete the process.

Next week the group are going to make Quince jelly – from huge quinces donated by a parent. The freezer was full of blackberries which are going to be made into Blackberry and apple jam at another session. These home made preserves are going to be sold at the school's market on Tuesday 18th October. The two year 6 classes are the main organisers for the event and are now full of ideas as to how they can publicise it and make it a really succesful venture. They are going to use the school website, posters in their house windows and in local shops, the local newspaper as well as clubs in the community like cubs and brownies. The PTA are set to provide teas and coffees and thousands of cakes... We worked out that if every pupil buys a cake that is 500 for starters, not to mention any other cake-loving visitors.

Stalls lined up for this market so far are Deen City Farm (based in Merton Park) who will sell their own eggs, preserves and jams, honey (from a friend of the school), bread, apple juice (freshly pressed on site) and vegetables.

Millfields School in Hackney who are due to go on their farm visit in less than two weeks have now selected the group that are going. I am going to meet with them and their parents tomorrow in order to go through the programme of activities, the kit list and answer any questions. It's all go! More next week.

Helen is the London Schools Farmers' Market Co-ordinator at the Soil Association, and works on a project called Farm Academy, which is all about connecting pupils to where their food comes from via residential visits to organic farms and the setting up and running of schools farmers markets. It is now working with five schools. She'll be reporting on how the schools are getting on preparing to run their first markets.

weighing the apples.jpgchopping apples.jpglabels for the jars.jpgQuinces for next week.jpg

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