CHILDREN at a primary school near Ashbourne are holding a farmers’ market as part of an enterprise project running in the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands.
Brassington Primary School is one of nine schools across the Peak district and Staffordshire Moorlands to set up farmers’ markets in their school hall or playground organised entirely by their pupils.
Pupils are applying their enterprise skills to establish regular markets – selling produce grown or made at school as well as produce from local growers.
The programme aims to provide opportunities for pupils to learn about food and farming at the same time as helping support small, local producers through the school markets.
Project leaders say it also provides the opportunity for members of the school and wider community to buy local, fresh and seasonal produce and meet the growers, farmers and producers behind the food.
Rachel Bolton head teacher at Brassington Primary School said: “The scheme is really important to help pupils realise where their food comes from and develop new business enterprise skills.
“Through running of school farmers markets, the pupils become champions for helping promote healthy eating in the wider community.”
Rupert Aker, head of learning at the Soil Association, which provides funding for the scheme, said: “School Farmers’ Markets are a fantastic opportunity because everyone involved benefits.
“You see a real difference in pupils as they learn ‘on-the-job’ about farming, animal welfare, food growing, cooking and business enterprise – but it also helps provide a new market for local producers and micro-food enterprises; and it also gives the local community the opportunity to buy affordable and fresh local produce, and meet the farmers who are producing the food.”
Pupils get involved in running the markets from start to finish and take responsibility for what happens and the decisions are theirs – enabling schools to communicate the importance of sustainably-produced local food products and providing a context for looking at food chain issues and understanding where food comes from.
Money raised from producer stall fees and the sale of produce made or grown by the schools will go towards further farm visits or food education and environmental projects in their school.
The market will take place on Friday, March 1 between 3pm and 4.30pm pm at the school, which is in School Hill, Brassington.
The scheme is funded by the Peak District Rural Action Zone Leader programme, the Soil Association, and Mid Wales Food and Land Trust and part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-13: Europe investing in rural areas.