60 farmers, SEN teachers, group leaders and care home managers gathered on 4th July 2012 for an inspiring Let Nature Feed Your Senses conference at Southfields Farm, Coleshill. The purpose of this, our third national conference, was to share learning and understand the impacts of the sensory farm visits that have been hosted for over 11,800 visitors over the last 3 years across our network of 75 farms. Scroll down to see what we did and access downloads of food stories, recipes, presentations and view films. For more photos see our album.
The conference began with an abundance of ideas for activities, spreading the length of the tent! A big thank you to everyone who brought something along.
Vikki Pearson, group leader, from deafblind charity sense and Aloysius Lalloo, Let Nature Feed Your Senses host, from Heeley City Farm, Sheffield presented the anatomy of a recent successful visit - preparation, adaptation, sensory-rich, inclusive – how did they do it so well?
Artist, Sophie Herxheimer has worked on lots of food and story related projects. She shared some of the ways in which remembering and recounting food stories can weave magic and bring people together. Throughout the day she drew our food stories with brush and ink.
Social enterprise, ChangeKitchen, organised us to help out preparing lunch and learning simple replicable recipes. Time for animated conversation, strengthening friendships created through the project and starting new ones.
In small groups we shared what worked, what didn’t and why. If we did it all again what would we do differently? The essentials, the nice to haves and those things we didn’t plan for that ended up putting a smile on someone’s face. Read the summary [164k pdf]
The colours and flavours were sensational!
Sue Male, teacher of the Further Education group at Woodlands SEN School (just up the road from Southfields Farm) shared how repeat visits to the farm by Sue’s pupils, and building on these sensory-rich experiences back in the classroom, has led to a real appreciation of nature and great outdoors skills.
A trailer full of obscure old tools and gadgets had the group perplexed and guessing on a break to stretch legs.
Let Nature Feed Your Senses is all about getting outdoors and experiencing nature. John Plumb kindly took us on a walk to some wilder areas on his farm.
Tracey Demartino, Skills Tutor, Orchard Manor Scope Transition Service has been working closely with Liz Nottage from Russell-Smith farm - A great piece on her blog describes the experience beautifully. Liz joined us by video explaining how she engages young people on her arable farm.
Helen McCondach and Michelle Williams, RayDar, a charity for families with children with disabilities presented their dynamic and very moving film demonstrating how safe, engaging and fun a hosted farm visit can be for families of all ages and abilities.
The film was made by Helen after her group’s visit with host farmer Jo North, Ides Barn, Droke Farm.
Sue Padfield, Let Nature Feed Your Senses host, has kept a visual journal of her experiences of hosting visits and being part of the project. She inspired many people with her wonderful record of learning, special moments and inspirations.
It’s never too late to start and several people did in the activity that followed!
It was time to take a tour of the stories, props, ideas, activities, recipes and a last chance to chat before the day came to an end.