Poetree!

OK, so this looks like a spindly, bare, whippersnapper of a tree …

Naburn Primary School children with one of their new apple trees

Naburn Primary School children with one of their new apple trees

… but pupils at two York schools have been imagining what it will grow into, and how they will enjoy the fruit it will bear in the future. And they have been doing so through poetry.

The ‘Poetree’ project was dreamt up and delivered by Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools (Y.E.S. – part of Edible York) and me. Two local schools were offered two apple trees each (courtesy of Y.E.S.), and an accompanying poetry workshop from me.

The first school to take up the offer was, appropriately, Applefields School, followed swiftly by Naburn Primary School.

Planting apple trees in February is a splendidly muddy business, but fortunately the children had been primed to bring wellies that day, so much stomping could be enjoyed by all.

Apple tree planting at Applefields School

Apple tree planting at Applefields School

Less muddy were our poetry workshops, in which the children learned and performed a poem I had written specially for them all about the wildlife the apple trees would support as they matured.

Then the children created their own class poem about what the trees and their fruit would mean to them.

It was great to see such purposeful and imaginative learning going on at these two schools. Claire Hopkinson, Form 3 teacher at Applefields, told us afterwards:

‘We loved having you to visit us and the pupils really did have a great deal of fun and enjoyment. They performed the poems in assembly so everyone in school has benefitted from your workshop.’

Planting mission accomplished at Applefields School

Planting mission accomplished at Applefields School

The Applefields pupils subsequently sent us an absolutely beautiful ‘Thank You’ pack. Just take a look at this:

The cover of Applefields School 'Thank You' pack

The cover of Applefields School ‘Thank You’ pack

Thank you letters from the pupils of Applefields School

Thank you letters from the pupils of Applefields School

Thank you letters from the pupils of Applefields School

Thank you letters from the pupils of Applefields School

Aren’t they fabulous? Brought a tear to my eye …

Vikki and I hope the apple trees will leave a tasty legacy for all these children for years to come.

This was one of a range of food-related poetry events that I have put on. If you fancy some poetree or other food-related poetry at your school, then just get in touch. (Though I have to tell you, the current funding for the apple trees has been used up now!)

Meanwhile, do check out the excellent work of York Edible Schools and Edible York. You’ll find loads of resources there to help you get growing, and teach others to grow too.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

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Eat, drink and write poetry!

What a beautiful park Rowntree Park is!

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

Rowntree Park in York on a sunny August day

And what a beautiful place to have a Reading Café.

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

On the balcony of Rowntree Park Reading Café

I have performed in this Reading Café before, and it seemed the perfect place to have the official launch of our York Food and Drink Festival ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats.

Now it just so happens that Salma was 8 last week, and one of her birthday treats was a trip to the Reading Café. Which is where I met her. And introduced her to our new placemats.

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York

Introducing Salma to our new ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemats in the Rowntree Park Reading Café, York. (Photo: AR Marketing)

I had the honour of performing my ‘Passion Fruit’ poem (which appears on the placemat) specially for her as a little extra birthday treat. And then she wrote a fabulous poem (in the space provided on the placemat) about her favourite food – which she’ll be entering into the Festival food poetry competition.

Salma with her freshly written food poem!

Salma with her freshly written food poem! (Photo: AR Marketing)

Not to be outdone, her 5-year-old brother Larbi also came along and wrote a poem for the competition about his favourite food.

Larbi writing his food poem

Larbi writing his food poem on our ‘Poetry on a Plate’ placemat. (Photo: AR Marketing)

Well now, if Salma and Larbi can, so can you!

You can find our Poetry on a Plate placemats in cafés and restaurants around York, including Library Cafés (across York), Pizza Express (on Lendal Bridge), York Cocoa HouseWinner WinnerCafé No 8Walmgate Ale House & BistroEl PianoBirdies PerchCakes Delicious, Evie Brown’s Tea Room and Waterstones café.

Enjoy!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Poetry on a Plate!

Back in March I put on some poetry workshops themed around food for schoolchildren attending the York Food for Life Partnership Awards. I’m pleased to announce that the winning food poems written that day have been chosen! They now appear – alongside a poem written by yours truly – on a fabulous placemat in use in cafés and restaurants around York (to tie in with York Food and Drink Festival).

You can see a small version of the mat here:

Poetry on a plate placemat

But to see the mat in all its glory, pop along to one of the following wonderful eateries in York, where it will be in use on your table:

Will you be able to guess the mystery fruit or vegetable described in the winning poems by Mac Scott of Fishergate Primary School, Morgan Caunt of Clifton Green Primary School and Iona Downing of Poppleton Road Primary School?

You’ll see there’s a space on the mat for you to write your food poem. If you love food and love words too, then get writing! York Food and Drink Festival is running a poetry competition on the theme of food, and they’re looking forward to receiving your entry – in either the under 16s or over 16s category. Your poem should be no more than 40 lines long. Winners will receive exclusive foodie prizes, and have the chance to have their poem displayed in York.

The competition closes at the end of the Food Festival, at midnight on 27 September – so get writing! You can find out more and submit your entry here.

A big Thank You to Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools, Chloe Smee of the Food for Life Partnership and the good folk at York Food and Drink Festival for making this placemat project happen.

Bon appétit!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Great food for a great life in Calderdale

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!

Delicious locally sourced and produced buffet

Delicious locally sourced and produced buffet

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:

Welcome to Hebden Bridge 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!

Mayor of Calderdale Cllr Lisa Lambert and her consort, Mr Ken Lambert

Mayor of Calderdale Cllr Lisa Lambert and her consort, Mr Ken Lambert – with their Buzzing! bookmarks

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.

cr v. sm Rhyme and Dine AED + Quote B

(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!)

FFLP grown-ups Chloe and Kay, with the all-important rhubarb!

FFLP grown-ups Chloe and Kay, with the all-important rhubarb!

Bon appétit to you all!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

 

 

 

Food Fabulous Food for Life

Friday 13th doesn’t sound like a very propitious date for an awards ceremony. But the one held at Clements Hall in York on Friday 13th March was a big hit. I know. I was there!

Food For Life Partnership Award winners

York Food For Life Partnership Award winners

Six local York primary schools gathered to receive their Food For Life Awards, and to show us what they had been doing  to improve – nay transform – the food culture in their schools. It was very inspiring!

The schools received their awards from the Director of York Food and Drink Festival, local restaurateur Michael Hjort of Meltons. As part of the celebrations a variety of food-related activities were put on for the children, including an interactive poetry performance from me, smoothie making with UGOT, and seed sowing with Garden Organic.  Oh, and there was poetry writing too …

Yes, ably assisted by Vikki Pendry of York Edible Schools, I ran a couple of poetry writing workshops in which the children created some fabulous poems about mystery fruit and veg.

Here I am trying to guess the veg …

What's that veg? Pupils read their mystery veg poems to me

What’s that veg? Pupils read their fabulous mystery veg poems to me

A big thank you goes to Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership, who put so much work into making the afternoon such a success. (And, indeed, into making the whole FFLP work so well in York.) You can read more about what we all got up to here.

Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership

Chloe Smee of York Food for Life Partnership

Best of all I was given a special invitation to go and enjoy a school lunch at one of the award-winning schools, Fishergate Primary. I’m very much looking forward to this!

However, now comes the hard work, as a group of us grown-ups have to select the very best of the poems the children wrote. Why? Well, these poems will feature on special place mats that are going to be created for local restaurants to use in this September’s  York Food and Drink Festival. (You may recall I have performed as part of this festival.) I’ll let you know when and where you can find these place mats. Will you be able to guess the fruit or veg?

(Stop press: You can read about a similar event in Calderdale here. And if you’d like some poetry performance and workshops on the subjects of food, healthy eating and growing where you are, just get in touch!)

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Michaelmas Feast Rhyme and Dine

On 14 January 1644, one Thomas Herbert of the City of York gave:

‘to the Corporation of Marchantes … the somme of Thirtye poundes, to the End that there shall be a Sermon yearely before the Company att Michaellmas Courte’.

Three hundred and seventy years later,  the Thomas Herbert sermon is still being preached as part of the annual Michaelmas Service held at the Merchant Adventurers Hall in York. This year’s sermon was given by the Bishop of Beverley, the Right Reverend Glyn Webster. And I was one of those present to hear it.

A 370-year-old tradition – consisting of formal processions of people clad in full regalia – is a hard act to follow. But that was my job. For after the Merchant Adventurers’ Michaelmas Service comes their Michaelmas Feast, and I was to provide the entertainment for said Feast. I did so by turning it into a Rhyme and Dine event.

With the Governor and Clerk of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York, Michaelmas Service 2014

Being introduced by the Governor of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York (Photo: Nikki Bowling)

Yes, inbetween the courses of the Feast I entertained the guests with amusing poems about the food we were about to eat.

Rhyming and Dining at the Michaelmas Feast 2014

Rhyming and Dining at the Michaelmas Feast 2014  (Photo: Nikki Bowling)

So, how was this Rhyme and Dine received? Well, I’ll let the current Governor of the Merchant Adventurers, Alan Suggett, answer that:

‘It was a tour de force from you … we all enjoyed every syllable of your poems. They fitted the mood of the evening we were hoping to create, and … the diners were universally delighted with their unusual entertainment. (One only had to look at the faces around the room to see that they were joyfully attentive).’

Well that’s a relief to hear! There was quite a weight of tradition – and responsibility – on my shoulders that night!

With Governors past and present at the Merchant Adventurers' Michaelmas Feast 2014

With Governors past and present at the Merchant Adventurers’ Michaelmas Feast 2014 (Photo: Nikki  Bowling)

Thank you to all the Merchant Adventurers, their spouses and their guests for being such an appreciative and welcoming audience. And to the caterers for working with and around me to enable to Rhyme and Dine to work.

I very much enjoyed creating the poems to fit in with the menu for this feast. Especially my Sticky Toffee Pudding poem!

If you’d like me to turn your next feast or dinner into a Rhyme and Dine event, then do contact me to find out more.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Another ‘Rhyme and Dine’ at Bedern Hall

Bedern Hall in York was at its beautiful candlelit best on Monday night for the Rhyme and Dine event I put on with chef Roger Lee for Cambridge Education Group’s FoundationCampus annual conference.

Bedern Hall, York, decked out for a Rhyme and Dine evening for Cambridge Education Group

Bedern Hall, York, decked out for a Rhyme and Dine evening for Cambridge Education Group

Inbetween the courses of the delicious meal, I entertained the – very convivial – group of people gathered there. With poems such as this one:

Plus a a poem about FoundationCampus that they had commissioned from me specially for the event.

The evening ended with delegates entertaining each other – and me – with their freshly minted limericks. Much fun was had by all!

How did the event go down? Well, listen to the conference organiser, Lisa Tyler:

Or, as she subsequently wrote:

‘Thank you once again for helping to make our annual conference such a success.’

FOC Conference Organiser Lisa Tyler at Bedern Hall

FOC Conference Organiser Lisa Tyler at Bedern Hall

A big Thank You to FOC’s Lisa Tyler for all her behind-the-scenes work in advance of the conference. To Roger Lee and his staff at Bedern for a fabulous meal. And to the great – and very talented! – group of people who make up FoundationCampus, for sharing their evening with me.

And if you’d like some entertainment with a difference for your conference dinner – with, perhaps,  a poem written specially for the occasion –  then get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean www.theBigBuzz.biz