Lucky primary-school children of Calderdale, I say! I do so with some confidence having attended the Calderdale Food for Life School Awards event in gorgeous Hebden Bridge last week.
There I heard first hand from teachers and pupils about the wonderful work they’re doing around growing, cooking and sharing healthy, fresh, seasonal, local food in their schools. From inviting farmers’ markets into schools to putting on Father’s Day lunch for their Dads to growing the brussel sprouts for their school Christmas dinner, there are oodles of inspiring food-related activities going on in these schools.
I also heard very moving testimonies from school chefs who had transformed the food culture and the place of cooking in their schools. These included Tony Mulgrew, who won the 2014 BBC Food and Farming Cook of the Year Award.
We even got to share a delicious buffet of locally sourced food – cheeses and breads and pickles and … and … and … Fabulous!
We were all gathered in the stunning surroundings of Hebden Bridge Town Hall (the only community-owned Town Hall in England) to celebrate the achievements of local primary schools that had gained their Bronze or Silver Food for Life Awards. It was an important occasion. So important that the Mayor of Calderdale and the Mayor’s Consort were in attendance – both bedecked in regalia. (Funnily enough this is the second time I’ve performed to Calderdale Mayoral personages. But that’s another story …)
I had been invited to this event to put on a poetry performance and poetry workshop themed around food. As I had done at the York Food for Life Awards in March.
As soon as I got off the train in Hebden Bridge I was greeted by this sign:
So I had a feeling I was going to encounter some very creative juices that day. And I wasn’t wrong! The children of Old Town, Ling Bob, Midgley, Bolton Brow and Riverside primary schools came up with fabulous mystery food poems – some of which will be displayed at the Town Hall for all to enjoy. (Will you be able to guess the mystery food?)
Even the Mayor and her Consort joined in the poetry writing, and came up with a corking poem all about … Ah, but that would be telling!
What I can tell you is that the Mayor, her Consort, and all the children and other important grown-ups present joined in with gusto as I performed – amongst other poems – the World Premiere of my Rhubarb poem (inspired by the fabulous rhubarb I encountered on a recent visit to a York FFLP school).
If you’d like to join in the Rhubarb poem – indeed, if you’d like a poetry day themed around food, growing and healthy eating for your primary school – just email me. I’ll be delighted to respond to your school’s requirements.
And if you’re a grown-up with an event or special occasion in mind, you might like to check out my Rhyme and Dine events, in which I intersperse rib-tickling food poems between the courses of your meal.
(See some Rhyme and Dine examples here.)
Meanwhile, congratulations to all the FFLP award winners on Thursday. Keep up the good work!
Thank you to Chloe Smee, Kay Whitfield and Leon Ballin of FFLP, who organised this special event and made my contribution to it run so smoothly. (And thank you, Chloe, for remembering the rhubarb!)
Bon appétit to you all!