During the long school Summer holidays, The Felix Project have redistributed enough nutritious surplus food for 150,000 meals to children attending 130 holiday activity and food schemes across London (HAF). One of these schemes, run by the Upper Norwood Library hub, together with The Felix Project and a local family ran a fun outing to a local allotment to help children understand where their food comes from, to see what fun it is to grow food and to taste how good that food is.

Damien from The Felix Project, his wife Sharon who works for School Food Matters, dad Mike and mum Paula, helped Upper Norwood Library Hub organise an outing to the local Norwood allotment for 22 of these little boys and girls.

Setting off from Crystal Palace on a one-mile trek in the Summer sun, on the last day of the holiday camp, the children formed a well behaved crocodile as Mike (89) described, the history of the area during the war, dig for victory and veg growing in the local parks. Meanwhile Paula was asked by one lad “Why have you got a gold tooth and so many chins”? 😊

At Spa Hill allotments, a dreamy green oasis of abundance in the heart of South London, the children were separated into three groups with Damien taking eight of them on an interesting walk, where the children discussed surplus food, and the variety of vegetables being grown. The kid’s knowledge about different fruits and vegetables were both surprising and reassuring. They were given different challenges Who can see the biggest pumpkin? Who can see grapes growing? Can you see any black tomatoes?

Mike discussed propagation adding nutrients to the soil, weeding, and harvesting and showed them his many gardening tools used on the plot. Sharon and Paula looked after the other groups, allowing the kids to pick and taste apples, share a sweet corn, have a slice of Beef Tomato, they also dug up potatoes and learnt about composting, comparing, keeping and even cooking seeds. All of them came away knowing “you are what you eat” and that the nutrients in the soil, not only help the plant but also enable the children eating that plant to be healthy, to run faster and jump higher.

At last, it was lunch time and a discussion with local apiarist Heather who talked about bees and pollination, whilst the kids handed round beeswax and perfectly formed honeycomb

At the bus stop Sharon said “We are going to play a game. Going through the alphabet naming fruit and veg. Now who can name a fruit or vegetable beginning with A?” Immediately a little voice called “avocado” someone else “Artichoke” by the time they reached ginger the bus had arrived. It was quite amazing the knowledge of these young people. Back at the library the kids were treated to slices of bread and Heather’s delicious honey whilst they chatted about their trip to the allotment on the last day of their holidays.

Boris from Upper Norwood Library hub commented 'It was a wonderful experience for the young people we work with to go the allotment. it was great for them to get out in the sunshine and see where food comes from. To learn how food is produced and even sample some fresh fruit and vegetables. Thanks to Damien & all at the Felix project for a fantastic experience on the trip out and for all the food donated to us over summer for our Summer HAF project.'

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