Ipswich: Children chip in as Suffolk Agricultural Association hosts potato day
- Credit: Andy Abbott
Local farmers helped children to grow their own potatoes at an event this week.
Suffolk Agricultural Association’s education team hosted a two-part Potato Challenge for primary schools as part of the Potato Council’s Grow your Own Potatoes initiative.
Helen Mickelsen and Liz Modder from Home Farm Nacton Ltd, Jim Wayman from the 3Ms and Emma Jackson from FACE (Farming and Countryside Education), together with John Taylor, helped children from six schools from across the county understand more about potatoes in a day of activities to launch the first part of the potato challenge.
They set up workshop areas looking at planting, what crops need for germination, why we need potatoes, what products contain potatoes and teach how to plant effectively to ensure good growth.
The 150 pupils planted their own seed potatoes to take back to their schools with advice on how best to feed and tend them to produce the best yield.
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Part 2, the great weigh-in will take place on June 18 when the pupils return to harvest their crop and place their potatoes on the scales to see who has produced the heaviest potatoes. This will be followed by some creative cooking to transform the humble spud into something they enjoy eating. Last year’s winner was 610g, and came from St Mary’s CEVA Primary School in Woodbridge. The year five pupils took the challenge very seriously, according to Philippa Martin their teacher, and loved being picked to do the watering once the potatoes were planted out in the school garden.
SAA’s education officer Hannah Woods said: “It is an amazingly simple project but one which is really effective in helping children connect their bag of crisps or chips with a potato. They learn how the potatoes are grown and what the plant looks like in the ground. We have also found the exercise has broad appeal across areas of the curriculum other than science. We are delighted that FACE has come on board with us this year as one of their roles is training farmers the best ways to communicate with pupils during farm visits and in the classroom.”
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