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Pam’s back of a seed packet guide to spinning the learning plate

By Sarah Ward

Why is this important?

Because reviving our hands-on knowledge of food is essential for all our futures.  Because we can learn from each other; old and young, experienced and inexperienced, our neighbours and those from further afield.  Where our food comes from, what it looks like before it hits the supermarket shelves and the amazing flavour of a freshly picked leaf should be understood by everyone.

But… what can I do?

Cook and share – get a tent that goes up and down fast. For quick cook moments, life’s too short for pegs.  Next to your plot or at the community centre, use your crops to demonstrate a quick, easy, healthy meal to share with passers-by.  Send them away with a new herb or a pot of chutney made from that glut of rhubarb.

Listen and learn  talk to sheltered housing residents and other older folks about the lost arts of pickling, bottling and preserving. They are the experts, record their story.  Make their recipes and share the results – your cooking and their knowledge.

Show and tell – bring the local kids to your plot, show them the difference between a weed and a herb, let them get dirty, let them taste a fresh pea straight from the pod and send them home with a story to tell their family and friends about where carrots come from.

Swap those skills – do you know all about seed propagation but nothing about PowerPoint?  Bring people together to learn from each other, over a cuppa or a plate of food.  Sharing your knowledge and experience can connect you with new people, developing relationships and resilience in your community.

Breaking bread together – have you got an amazing recipe made from local produce that you want to share?  Speak to neighbours about Come dine with me evenings, cooking simple meals in each other’s houses to share your hints and tips.  Got a bit left over?  Why not drop it around to someone who you know would appreciate a home cooked meal and a chat.

Learning can be formal, like in schools, or it can be from sharing and learning with each other.  The formal learning might follow as your group develops, but we believe in the power of small actions and starting off with these small actions definitely contribute to learning about the power of food.

That’s how the learning plate spins.