East End children swap Solebay Primary’s classroom for ‘field’ trip to Chatham Green farm

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 June 2016

Two lads from  Solebay Primary examine how bread starts out, as wheat, at Wilderness Foundation's Chatham Green poject

Two lads from Solebay Primary examine how bread starts out, as wheat, at Wilderness Foundation's Chatham Green poject

© Si Barber/07739 472 922/

Children from London’s inner city East End swapped their classroom for crops on a “field” trip to learn about farming, food, and how bread for their lunchtime sandwiches started out.

Room to run... Solebay pupils in the Essex countrysideRoom to run... Solebay pupils in the Essex countryside

The trip by pupils at Mile End’s Solebay Primary to the Chatham Green project in the Essex countryside was to get outdoors and find out more about how their food goes from field to fork, learning how wheat growing in a field is hand-crushed and made into flatbread.

The project uses 400 acres of Strutt & Parker farmland near Chelmsford to create a “living classroom” for 3,000 children a year, run by the Wilderness Foundation which helps to reconnect people with their natural surroundings.

“We live in a world where inner city children are in danger of growing up disconnected from nature,” Wilderness Foundation’s Sue Harrison warns. “Children come here and see the variety and scale of what we grow and to understand about looking after nature.”

The Country Trust education charity, which arranged the trip for the Solebay pupils, provides children from disadvantaged urban areas like the East End with opportunities to learn outside the classroom, showing them first-hand the open countryside.

Solebay’s Principal Janet Baker said: “Trips like this are about giving every child equal access to opportunities and life chances. For inner city children, seeing what is outside their everyday experience opens their eyes to the wider world.”

The Chatham Green project is funded by Bayer Life Science education programme to encourage involvement with agriculture. Projects include the Youth Ag-Summit, where young delegates discuss the biggest agricultural challenges faced today.

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