Friends Thomasina Miers, MasterChef winner and co-founder of Mexican restaurant group Wahaca, and Laura Harper‐Hinton, co-founder and creative director of Caravan all-day restaurants and its specialty coffee business Caravan Coffee Roasters, have come together to launch the first Fork to Fork Food Festival, which will take place on Sunday 13th June at ARK Franklin Primary Academy in Kensal Rise, West London.
Fork to Fork Food Festival will bring together some of London’s most talented and creative chefs, restaurateurs and producers, with the aim to raise funds in support of the Open Air Classroom project which will launch at ARK Franklin Primary Academy following the festival.
The one-day festival this June will feature chef demos, talks and tastings, food and produce stalls, a bar serving craft beer, wine and gin, a secret picnic garden, a world fete, live music and numerous children’s activities. Guests of all ages will have the chance to mingle with the great and good of London’s food scene in a relaxed and family-friendly environment. Stalls will be manned by chefs from Hix, Ottolenghi, Koya, Soho House, Polpo, Caravan & Caravan Coffee Roasters, E&O, Moro, Union Street Café, Granger & Co, Gracelands Café, The Shop, The Whippet Inn, Fed By Lillie and Gail’s Bakery. Plus food trucks from Wahaca, Dirty Burger, The Bowler and Young’s, as well as drinks stalls from Beavertown and Camden Town breweries, New Zealand Wine Cellar, Borough Wines, Portobello Gin and Vinoteca.
The idea behind the Open Air Classroom at ARK Franklin is backed by considerable research taken from edible garden projects in the US and Australia, which shows that creative outdoor spaces have a huge benefit in developing children, particularly those with behavioural difficulties or who are not classic ‘academic’ learners. In 2011 Ofsted stated, in relation to a garden project: ‘Enrichment opportunities are particularly good and contribute strongly to pupils’ good personal development.’ Evidence shows that when children are taught science in the open air with mechanisms that work in front of their eyes, the subject comes alive, and when children grow food, they are more willing to eat it.
The Open Air Classroom will be a place where pupils and locals can be creative and learn a range of disciplines in a stimulating environment. The garden, endorsed by restauranteur and activist Alice Waters, who pioneered the Edible Schoolyard organisation, will have raised beds to grow food (the school also has a kitchen to cook the produce) and a place to sell it at the Queen’s Park farmers’ market (voted best UK farmers’ market in 2014). Through the cooking and selling of food, the children will learn and understand nutrition, health, science and commerce. The Open Air Classroom will also include a pond to teach marine science, a conservation area with wildflowers to attract butterflies and a beehive, a wormery to recycle food waste, an amphitheatre, a sundial and several climbing frames.
The experience of an Open Air Classroom feeds back into the indoor classroom, improving focus and the ability to concentrate. Through the project, the school hopes to foster links to its community and will throw the garden doors open to the local community at the weekends and during school holidays. Fork to Fork Festival, which Thomasina and Laura will become an annual event, will offer a day of entertainment for all the family whilst raising the funds to make the Open Air Classroom come to life.
Laura commented on the festival, ‘We hope that people will be excited and embrace the first ever Fork to Fork festival this June, and that our space will become a loved and respected local West London landmark and an inspiration for many other schools across the country to see the learning benefits for children and open their own open air classroom.’
Fork to Fork Festival will be held on Sunday 13th June at ARK Franklin Primary Academy in Kensal Rise from 12pm to 6pm.
Tickets are available now via www.franklinforktofork.com for £5 pre-sale and £8 on the day, children under 12 go free.
Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/Ark-Schools-Appeal-Fork-to-Fork