Adam Henson at Barleylands with school children

The Echo report: A BBC farmer spent the day at a top south Essex spot, promoting healthy eating to youngsters.

Adam Henson, presenter of BBC’s Countryfile, was hand-picked to officially open the new polytunnel at Barleylands, in Billericay.

The polytunnel, also known as a hoop greenhouse or hoophouse, is made from polythylene. It functions like a green house, using the sun to extend growing times, enabling fruit and vegetables to be grown all year round. School children are invited to plant crops in the polytunnel, before being taught to cook with the freshly-picked produce.

Mr Henson, who runs a similar farm park in the Cotswolds, enjoyed a tour of Barleylands, before meeting youngsters and officially opening the polytunnel.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Karen Watson, education officer"]The polytunnel is a great addition to our education programme and visiting schools have enjoyed harvesting vegetables and using them to top their healthy pizzas, made during their visit to the farm. It is a really useful tool as it extends the growing season of crops, meaning we can grow crops outside during the summer months and broadens the range of food, farming and cookery demonstrations we provide to children each year. It was a pleasure to showAdam a typical day at Barleylands, where we aim to help children make the connection from field to fork.[/quote]

The polytunnel was funded by a grant from Edible Essex, and green token nominations by shoppers at Waitrose, in High Street, Billericay.

Barleylands welcomes 12,000 schoolchildren for education visits each year, and also runs a programme in schools.

In 2013, the park and craft village was named as Educational Farm of the Year, by the National Farm Attraction Network.

Article and image sourced from the Echo.


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