School Farmers’ Markets

School Farmers’ Markets

At the January Nabma Conference – Better Markets, Revitalised High Streets, we heard from Liz Woodward who was the School Farmers Market Co-ordinator for the Peak District Leader funded project.  We are really hoping to encourage more schools and communities in starting up a School Farmers’ Market project in their area through the Love Your Local Market camapaign, so read on to find out more.

Liz is an enthusiastic environmental educator and project manager who continues to work for the Soil Association supporting Farm Links within the Food for Life Partnership.  She is passionate about local food and sustainable living and the important benefits and community cohesion that can be achieved by encouraging, inspiring and supporting both young and old to take an active role in food growing, production and enterprise.

School Farmers Markets

school_farmers_marketThe Soil Association is a membership charity with a 65 year history.  Their goal is to deliver solutions which secure healthy, humane and resilient food, farming and land use.

A key element of the Soil Association’s work is to enable children to discover where their food comes from and how it is grown. They seek to equip young people with the knowledge to make informed choices about food and healthy lifestyles, together with the skills to grow and cook their own food. Developing these themes through real-life learning experiences – the organisations work allows children to learn in an engaging and practical way, gaining social and enterprise skills that will also stand them in good stead for the future.

School Farmers’ Markets are an exciting and inspiring project that pulls these strands together – providing educational experiences for the pupils, market opportunities for local producers and social interaction & shopping opportunities for the community. Anecdotal evidence from teachers, parents and the children themselves points to significant outcomes for the children involved. For example, greater awareness of farms, farming and where food comes from; cooking and growing skills and subsequent improvements in health and nutrition; and new experiential learning opportunities for children, who do not always thrive in the classroom leading to improved attainment, teamwork and self-confidence. The project has successfully delivered over 100 markets in schools in areas as diverse as the inner-city London borough of Hackney, Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands, to the Shropshire hills, Warwickshire and the redundant coal mining communities of County Durham.

The Soil Association was instrumental in bringing farmers markets to the UK in 1998 and the Mid Wales Food and Land Trust set up its first school farmers market in 2005. Together we hope to build on this experience and create a whole new way to enjoy local food through school farmers markets.

If you think you would like to set up a School Farmers’ Market

Get in touch with Liz by email: Liz’s Email