The ability to cook should be a human right. This is the key message coming from a leading organic farm brand in the run up to British Sausage Week (November 1 – 7). Throughout November Helen Browning’s Organic will be donating a percentage of its Speedy Sausage supermarket sales to the Focus on Food Campaign which teaches over 42,000 individuals to cook, free of charge each year, and trains and encourages 2,500 teachers a year to reintroduce cooking skills into the school curriculum.
Helen has an award winning organic farm close Swindon at Bishopstone.
The British Medical Association predicts that by 2020 over one quarter of children will be obese. The Focus on Food Campaign maintains that this figure will not be reversed significantly unless people are taught the basic skills to cook their own food from fresh ingredients.
“The vast majority of children are not being taught to cook at home or at school,” says Anita Cormac OBE, Executive Director and founder of Focus on Food. “Teachers need quality training and the resources to teach it well. As a charity we rely on funding, and the Helen Browning’s Organic donation will help enormously with the production of teaching and learning resources .”
Focus on Food’s huge Cooking Buses open out into spectacular purpose-built kitchens and classrooms. Any school in England can register with the Focus on Food Campaign and apply for a Cooking Bus visit. From this travelling classroom children are taught the wonders of food, where it comes from and how to transform it into tasty meals.
“We have had 20 years of school kitchens being ripped out and cooking slipping off the curriculum,” says Tim Finney, managing director of Helen Browning’s Organic. “I think it’s appalling and we would like to play our small part in contributing to the effective work of the Focus on Food Campaign. Although I don’t recall my own school food in Yorkshire in the 1970s with much affection!”
Helen Browning’s Organic regularly opens its Eastbrook Farm, near Swindon, to schoolchildren where they reconnect about 500 children a year with the realities of food production. During British Sausage Week the local school (Bishopstone CofE Primary) will decamp to its pub and restaurant The Royal Oak where the children aged between four and ten will feast on Speedy Sausages, and green veg from its own allotment on the farm, and interrogate farmers and teachers about where their food comes from.
Helen Browning’s Organic, and the village of Bishoptone, has witnessed first hand how food has the power to unite communities. The local community has been involved in helping its village school to set up its own allotment growing fresh fruit and vegetables. The children have learned to nurture, harvest and cook the produce. “They have also learned how to negotiate with The Royal Oak occasionally – we have been known to buy excess production. We suppose the money goes towards replanting the next crops!” says Tim Finney.
Helen Browning’s organic Speedy Sausages are available in Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Kids love the meaty taste and spicy kick – 96 percent pork, free from preservatives, artificial additives, gluten and dairy products. They are quick to cook and a great way to get children cooking. See www.helenbrowningorganics.co.uk for child friendly recipes.