Connecting children with food, farming and the countrysideA unique outdoor learning experience for schools and groups at the Hirsel, ColdstreamScottish Land and Estates ‘Helping it Happen’ Education Award winner
Field to Fork at the Hirsel, Coldstream draws on the resources of the estate to offer 'Food and Farming' and 'In the Wild' day visits for schools and groups FREE of charge (because we believe our message is so important). Our aim is to nuture an understanding and appreciation of food, farming and the countryside while fostering an enjoyment of being outdoors.
A visit with a 'Food and Farming' focus highlights the crucial role of our farming industry in producing our food, exploring in a hands-on way the crops grown, how they are produced and how they become the food we eat. The cooking activity further encourages the making of informed choices around food and its impact on health, the environment and on producers, as well as teaching valuable food preparation and cooking life skills.
Meanwhile an 'In the Wild' day may involve both sessions being outdoors, engaging with the natural environment to explore, discover and learn about an aspect of it and the importance of caring for it.
A typical visit involves:
We can accommodate a maximum of 40 children per visit and have disabled facilities.
Through the seasons we will be watching our crops grow, getting lost in the maize, seeing new life burst forth and hunting for mini-beasts and seeds in the woods of the estate. Share these experiences with your children with us!
Members of the group busily making their potato salads during our Field to Fork visit in which we had been thinking about the crops grown at the Hirsel and how they are harvested.
Building on the success of our regular hosting of Estate Days organised by RHET Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative in the autumn of each year, we welcomed the S2's from Eyemouth High School and Earlston High School at the end of May. Thanks to various workshop providers, the pupils were able to experience six different aspects of the working estate over the day. More photos can be found in the gallery.
After the fun we had last year growing planting and growing vegetables in the school plots, we are trying it again. Tweedmouth West got us started planting onions and potatoes but now we have beetroot, parsnip, carrots and more potatoes sown by various schools. Hopefully these will be ready to harvest and cook with in the autumn term.
Field to Fork Fridays have continued throughout the year with lots of youngsters and their families enjoying exploring the outdoors with us. We have done scavenger hunts, had campfires, built dens, created wild art and more recently planted and tended seeds in our raised beds in the walled garden.
It has been great to have so many classes and schools booking visits this summer term. Everyone is obviously overjoyed to be venturing beyond the school gates again - we had lots of very excited children enjoying learning in a different setting.
Field to Fork Fridays are a once a month session for families with pre-school or school age children to engage with nature and spend some time together outdoors. For more information email email@example.com.
We helped all 3 classes at Scremerston First School prepare (and enjoy eating!) some healthy snacks on a Bonfire Night theme - Fruit Rockets, Carrot Hummus Bonfires and Pizza Puff Pinwheels! This, our second termly visit, aims to help encourage healthier snacking and support the growing of food in the school garden.
Harvest has begun once again - a busy and important time on the Hirsel farms. Check out the 'Farming' topic in Activities and Resources for support around where our food comes from and how it is produced.
Spring has sprung once more at Hirsel! Join Sally exploring the estate to find signs that tell of the changing of the season from the newly born Highland calves to the nectar seeking bees and succession of spring flowers.
Check out our videos within 'Healthy Cooking, Healthy Eating' of the Activities and Resources section below which show how to make 3 quick, straightforward and nutrious recipes using local or UK grown produce of the winter season.
Learn more about what happens in nature in this glorious autumn season with all its treasures and be creative too:
'Make a Story Stick' : https://youtu.be/Bam0wUUkSuA
'Autumn Treasures' : https://youtu.be/dW3viidUlx4
'How trees disperse their seeds' : https://youtu.be/SIqAIL1uM3M
Autumn is such an amazing time of year and wherever you are there are signs to spot. Take a look at our 'Autumn at the Hirsel' video then see what you can spot in your local area
As with everyone else our summer term plans have gone by the board - just when bookings were coming in well, Coronavirus put a spanner in the works! However all is not lost as we have plenty ideas for activities which can be done at home, outdoors, in the garden or out on daily walks to explore the world around us. Each week we are emailing out around 5 themed activities suitable for any age and almost anywhere - a recipe is often included. To receive these activities contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope they are useful and enjoyable, helping youngsters to connect to our amazing natural world and appreciate what is on their doorstep.
This autumn we hosted two Estate Days for High School year groups in conjunction with RHET. On the first we welcomed around 60 S2 pupils from Jedburgh Grammar School while the following day 90 S3 pupils from the Berwickshire High School took part. The youngsters explored various aspects of estate life through a forestry workshop provided by Fountain Forestry, a river life session by The Tweed Foundation, farming provided by Alistair Hodge and Lesley Mason of RHET, the Douglas Fold of Highland Cattle by Allan Telford, gamekeeping by Craig Birkett the gamekeeper, in which he showed them how to prepare pheasant for the table, and ourselves at Field to Fork baking bread and cooking and tasting the pheasant gougons! The pupils had a fantastic day, huge thanks to our providers, and took home with them a tree sapling kindly donated by Cheviot Trees.
We are thrilled (as you can see!) to have been announced winners of the Scottish Land and Estates 2018 'Helping it Happen' education award at a ceremony held at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh recently. We have always been very proud of what we offer at Field to Fork but it is fantastic to have the huge commitment of the Estate, who fund this project, acknowledged at a National level. We are grateful to schools for their support and hope we can continue to develop what we do in order to connect more children to what goes on in the countryside and where their food comes from.
Click on the topics to download teaching plans, worksheets and videos.
Our 'Food and Farming' visits are based around the crops grown on the 5 farms of the Hirsel estate and the foods they produce. This supports curriculum topics such as 'Where our food comes from', 'Food from Scotland', 'Food journeys', 'Food and the environment' as well as for example 'Healthy eating', 'Grow your own', 'Plant Lifecycles', 'Sustainable Living', 'Food and Farming in World War 1/2' or other periods in history.
On the otherhand an 'In the Wild' day might focus on 'Woodland habitats', 'Food chains', 'Lifecycles', 'Mini-beasts', 'Using our senses outdoors', 'Mindfulness in nature', 'Wild Art', 'Outdoor games' or 'Mapping at the Hirsel'.
We are happy to work with your suggestions, tailoring visits to meet your curriculum and children's needs, and can contribute to Building Resilience, Developing the Young Workforce, School Health Week, Fairtrade Fortnight, Eco Schools and John Muir Awards.
During the winter months when an outdoor visit can be difficult, we are happy to offer In-school Workshops within a 25 mile radius. These usually involve a powerpoint presentation and a practical cooking or other activities.
Take your visit further and click on the topics to find further resources and activities to do in your own setting.
Explore what food is grown and produced from the Hirsel farms in the Scottish Borders
Quick and easy recipes and activities to encourage eating healthily and appreciation of food.
Where do fruit and vegetables come from and how are they grown?
Click here to see a selection of images of what we get up to.