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Origin of Food Project

Origin of Food



‘When a friend asked me what the workshops were about I replied, “It’s about kids having fun doing physical exercise outdoors, learning where their food comes from and doing some crazy art work – all in one day!” What I really meant was that I worry about this generation of children who, for whatever reason, don’t get out into Nature and are more often than not disassociated from the source of their food.  I know there is no substitute for real –life experience. How can a child learn to care for that which he or she has no experience of?   Some of the children who came on these workshops had never walked in a woodland, skimmed stones across a river or eaten a picnic under trees.   By encouraging natural playfulness on our walks I tried to create a space for a connection to be made between the children and their natural world.

The Story – The Origin of Food

Where does our food come from?                                                                         
What is its true nature?
Can we make a seed?
What does a seed need to grow?
What is the first food a baby receives?


Every workshop began with questions…
Ten workshops, ten different schools, ten chapters…
One story…

Human beings must have air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat and shelter from the elements. The Earth, is the provider of our main needs and so we began to recognise the Earth as sustainer and nurturer of life. Early workshops studied the Hunter-Gatherer methods of obtaining food from the land.   We made story sticks to record some of the edible and useful sources of food in Afan Forest.   We talked about organic gardening, allotments, farming and visited a 15th century farm and early 19th century corn barn in the forest. The workshops moved to Gnoll Park Estate where one group of children more than fulfilled the physical activity requirement of the project by hiking up to the old reservoir that used to provide Neath residents with all their water. Another group discovered the old ice house on the Estate where whole carcasses of deer were once lowered by ropes into an ice filled hole in the ground – just as cave people once stored their mammoth steaks in pack ice! From storage we moved to transport and especially transport utilising water – namely rivers and the sea.   These last workshops were based in the Miners Hall, Ystradgynlais and the Enviroment Centre, Swansea.    Both venues gave access to rivers and the sea. Swansea Marina and its surviving Fisher folk created a wonderful opportunity to realise that food could come from land, sea or sky (though no-one fancied eating swan!)   One lucky group even had a guided tour around Sainsbury’s food storage facilities and learnt how their neatly packaged foods might have travelled hundreds of miles to arrive in store for them to buy – a far cry from the Hunter – Gatherers of yesteryear!


The tenth and last workshop questioned the control of food distribution worldwide in this century.   Some of the issues raised were famine, war and Fairtrade.   We looked at the choices each of us make every day and how they affect our world. Are we as Human Beings behaving as destroyers or guardians of this Earth? …’

Quotes from the School Children

‘I see a stripey rock and a flowing river
Discovering life is the best bit
The river flows like a waterfall
Flowing through our minds’

‘ p.s. it was one of the most enjoyable days that I have ever had’

‘The day inspired me in my art’

‘ You gave us an experience of a lifetime and showed us many different things of nature and art’

‘Thank you so much. I loved every bit of the day and I hope I have another day like this soon’