Case Study: Binsted Food Fortnight
Binsted is a small village on the edge of the South Downs National Park. Its community consists of long standing residents, landowners, families and businesses with a wide cross section of ages.
Celebrating a week of events during British Food Fortnight combined the efforts of representatives from the Village Hall, School and Church like never before.
Holding a Local Food and Produce Fair at Binsted's Village Hall allowed the parish's farms and businesses to promote produce in a local environment and encouraged members of the community to sell homemade, grown and baked wares. Smells from a sizzling BBQ cooking locally reared sausages, burgers and pulled pork baps enticed people to the hall where customers could buy anything from local organic meat and home-grown apples, to marmalade, fresh eggs and 'Glairy' free cakes. The Friends of Binsted School ran a stall selling fruit, vegetables, jams and chutneys donated by the community.
"It was a ... great idea. The hall looked gorgeous and loads of delicious things to buy... It was a real village event." H. Dubreuil
Following the Fair, the school ran ‘Binsted School Food Week’ full of food related activities. As a rural primary school with just 90 pupils, undertaking such a huge food focused project was amazing, especially as there is no kitchen! Over five days, a variety of companies and organisations educated the pupils, staff and parents about British and locally produced food. The broad range of activities included:
- HC3S who cater the school meals gave pupils the opportunity to bake bread.
- Local fruit producer, Blackmoor Nurseries gave a talk about 'Orchard to Fruit Bowl' and provided the children with fruit to taste.
- The National Sheep Organisation brought sheep to school and spoke about British Lamb Production.
- Alton Food Bank hosted an assembly, talking about its local charity work.
- Two teachers hosted a 'Cook-Off', each creating a dish using local ingredients, for the children to judge. The 'Jennings Courgette Curry' won, pipping the 'Cox Bolognaise' to the post!
- Half a mile from Binsted School, Mill Farm Organic specialises in organically reared Beef, Lamb and Pork. They gave a tour of their farm to Years 1 and 2 and supplied meat for a special 'Fry-Day Breakfast' to close Food Week.
- The teachers set up in the playground and cooked bacon, sausages, porridge and toast (with locally produced jam & honey) for pupils, parents and the community
"This has been the best week at school ever!" T. Logan (Yr6)
To end a wonderful foodie week, the Binsted, Bentley and Froyle Benefice chose a 'Harvest' theme for their Flower Festival. Visitors from across Hampshire admired Holy Cross Church, which was decorated with locally grown fruit, vegetables, crops and flowers. It included a large Harvest Festival Food collage, created by Binsted School.
Taking inspiration from how our community has worked together during this year's British Food Fortnight, the Village Hall is planning the next Local Food & Produce Fair for Easter 2016 and Binsted School has launched a fundraising cookbook, gathering family favourite recipes from the whole community.