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Gower Fields to Forks project brings locally grown food to Bishopston Comprehensive School

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A new project, Gower Fields to Forks, is bringing together several local farms with Bishopston Comprehensive School and food distributor Castell Howell in a ground-breaking series of activities that will see food grown on local farms being delivered to the school for a nutritious meal on Friday October 21. 

The project will teach the pupils about local food production, sustainability, cooking, marketing, and agriculture.

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They have been visiting the farms and will learn about cooking, the importance of farming, the value of local sourcing, seasonal eating, and how to market local food to other pupils at the school.

The project is being led by community interest company 4theRegion, a membership alliance working to bring about positive change in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. 4theRegion is working with the catering department for Swansea Council, Castell Howell, and several local farms including Western Slade Farm and Little Waterstone Farm, to deliver the project.

It is hoped that it will provide a model for local sourcing of food for schools and public services in the future.

Gower farmer, Andrew Olicer and julie Jones from 4TheRegion talk about a new initative to bring local food to local plates.

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning Robert Smith said: “There’s some excellent work taking place in our schools that not only promotes healthy eating but helps pupils discover where produce comes from and the importance of sustainability.

“I’m sure those taking part in Bishopston will find this rewarding and I wish them well as they continue with this project.”

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Emma Oliver, farmer at Western Slade Farm said: “As a local farmer’s wife and founder of Gower Farmers’ Market, I am delighted to see local produce going onto the plates of our next generation.

“This brilliant project will raise the profile of local food growers at a time when we are facing so many challenges.

“We are grateful for all the participants’ support in taking what will hopefully be a huge step towards carbon reduction via seasonal diets, with farming and small local businesses being given a lifeline ensuring a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Ed Morgan, group corporate social responsibility manager at Castell Howell foods, said: “We’re proud to be involved in this initiative, bringing vegetables grown in the Gower through our supply chain and delivering them to Bishopston school. We hope this collaboration between supply chain partners can develop and flourish and be an example of how local horticultural supply chains can evolve.”

Pupils from Bishopston School with Julie Jones from Overbyhere Associated and Farmer Emma Oliver at Western Slade Farm

Julie Jones, founder of project management consultancy Overbyhere Associates, which is collaborating with 4theRegion to deliver the project, said: “We are thrilled that we have been able to play such a significant part in this project on behalf of our commissioning associates 4theRegion. 

“They were first approached about the concept of getting local food onto local public services tables, and the idea was resoundingly welcomed. 

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“Knowing each of the participant groups, we truly appreciate how hard everyone has worked to overcome significant administrative and logistical barriers and challenges to bring what seems (on the outside) to be a fairly simple task to life. 

“Working so closely with everyone on bringing everyone together has been a huge and incredibly rewarding pleasure”

Zoe Antrobus, Director of 4theRegion, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be bringing together a diverse mix of businesses and organisations including Swansea Council, local farmers, and local schools.

“It’s a really important project in terms of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of food supply. It’s inspiring children and inspiring grownups around nutrition and putting good food on young children’s plates.”

Jeff Bird, head of Bishopston Comprehensive school, said: “We’re very excited about this project, which will put local food on children’s plates while teaching them about climate change, local food production, nutrition, cooking, how to market food and more.

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“The pupils have very much enjoyed visiting the farms and are looking forward to devising – and enjoying – a meal cooked with local food.”

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