Food for Thought - celebrating 10'th anniversary 2011

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In 2011 the Food For Thought School Linking Programme, linking schools in Devon with rural schools in Uganda, celebrated its 10th year! And a busy year it was!

Celebrations in the UK included a special service in Exeter Cathedral and an assembly outline for schools to use themselves.

Three training days were held at RHS Rosemoor for teachers, teaching assistants, parents or governors who work with children in the school gardens. These were very well supported and much appreciated. The leader was Alison Bockh, who teaches gardening full time at Yeo Valley, Barnstaple. 

In June, two days to celebrate World Food Day took place. One day was held on South Penquite Farm, Bodmin, in Cornwall with 170 children attending, the other held at Hannah's, Seale Hayne, Newton Abbot, in Devon with 80 children (plus lots of rain!). At each, children took part in a variety of activities. They made bag gardens, vertical 'grow bags', and planted them with young plants such as lettuces. They made tip-taps, a method of hand washing without touching the jerrycan of clean water, as used in Ugandan schools. There was story telling, a quiz about everyday Ugandan objects, making fires outdoors, designing and making Uganda-style walking sticks and craft-work with banana leaves and fibre. At Hannah's, there was also viewing of animals including goats, ducks, rabbits and donkeys. Everyone shared lunch and wrote on 'mango leaves' what they liked about Food For Thought.

Elijah Kyamuwendo, Chief Executive of partner organisation Kulika Charitable Trust

Elijah Kyamuwendo, Chief Executive of our partner organisation Kulika Charitable Trust, Uganda (who very sadly died after a short illness in 2012) and Beatrice Okumu, key Farmer Trainer in Tororo, Eastern Uganda, came to judge the school gardening competition in July. Beatrice judged the 6 schools in Cornwall and Elijah the 12 in Devon – success was celebrated at Prize Giving Days, one held in Upton Cross Primary School, Cornwall and the other at Alphington Primary School, Devon. All the entries were excellent, reflecting the effort put in by the children and adults.

Beatrice Okumu judging the school gardening competition

There were 6 categories in the competition. The winners for the whole garden were Upton Cross, Cornwall, and joint Topsham and Yeo Valley in Devon. The competition created a great deal of excitement and energy amongst the children, so we hope to repeat this next year, and encourage all the schools to join in.

In Uganda, political unrest caused the Children's Festival to be postponed at the last moment from May to August. Four pupils and a teacher from each of the 34 Food For Thought schools from 3 Districts of Uganda came together for a week in Kampala. They visited Parliament, the Wild Life Park (to see lions, giraffe, crocodiles and other wild animals which do not frequent their parts of the countryside these days), the airport and Garden City Shopping Centre. They held debates, danced, met and made friends with pupils from different parts of Uganda, from different ethnic groups, speaking English because their mother tongue languages are different. A very good time was had by all!

A Harvest Assembly for UK schools was produced which focuses on the life of Grace Awino, a girl in her final year at Okwira Primary School in Uganda, linked with St Teath in Cornwall.

World Food Week was celebrated in October, back at Kirume, one of the two original link schools. Training for garden teachers was held later in the year.

With all these activities, plus lots of visitors to and from the UK and Uganda, 2011, our birthday year, was a particularly good one!

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