The Grain Chain

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School Farm Fair fun

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Did you come to the School Farm and Country Fair in Ipswich on Wednesday 21st April?

It was a great Anthony Kindred school farm fairday out for children and grown-ups alike with a wide variety of interesting displays and stands. There was no chance of going hungry as our young visitors learnt how to make bread rolls with the Grain Chain team and our master baker, Anthony Kindred. Our grain art stand, where children could make pictures using a variety of different grains, also proved popular with the schools who visited the fair.

If you didn’t get the chance to come, why not try our recipe for bread rolls which can be found by clicking here:

Bank holiday activities for children

The early spring bank holiday is only a week away and the weather looks set to be great so why not spend some time outdoors. Activities such as Frisbee or kwik cricket are great fun for all the family- why not pack a picnic and make a day of it?

Baking is also a fantastic way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Our recipe section on the website, has some great, easy to make, recipes ranging from tasty treats and cool snacks to brilliant breakfasts and yummy meals. Why not try them out?

Short of cash? Did you know that many museums and art galleries in London are free? If on the other hand you fancy something a bit more lively, there are loads of vouchers about for theme parks and other attractions. An internet search for vouchers should do the trick. Make sure you take a healthy packed lunch with you to avoid the expensive, shop bought options.

You now have even longer to submit your Inspire! Entries

We’ve extended the deadline for entries to 5 May, so you now have even longer to perfect your lesson plans and send them to us for your chance to win £1500 for your school. See for more information.

Only nine days left to enter our competition and win £1500!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Don’t miss the chance to win £1500 for your school

You have just nine days to enter our Inspire! Competition for a chance to win £1500 for your school! Entries need to be received no later than 20 April. The winner and five finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony and BBQ lunch at Kensington Roof Gardens in London on 25 June where celebrity baker Paul Hollywood will be giving a baking demonstration so you could learn from one of the best! Take a look on to find out more and download an entry form.

Are you going to the School Farm and Country Fair?

It’s the 10th anniversary of the School Farm and Country Fair, which is taking place on 21 April at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Since it began in 2001, more than 40,000 7–9 year olds have enjoyed getting their hands dirty and learning about where their food comes from. The Grain Chain will be there on the day doing a baking demonstration where children can get involved and make bread rolls with us. Children will also be able to make grain art. To find out more visit We hope to see you there!

St George’s Day is on Friday 23 April

St George is the Patron Saint of England. He is believed to have been born in A.D. 270 in Cappadocia, which is now known as Eastern Turkey. At the age of 17 he joined the Roman army, where he was known for his bravery. Although he served under a pagan emperor, he never forgot his Christian faith and when the emperor began persecuting Christians, he pleaded with him to stop. The emperor ignored his pleas and it is thought that St George was tortured before being beheaded in Palestine on 23 April A.D. 303.

Did you know…?

  • That St George is also the patron saint of several different countries including Ethiopia, Albania, Greece, Portugal and Russia as well as cities including Beirut, Genoa and Moscow. St Georges Day was a major feast and national holiday in England from the 15th century which was oRoast beef and yorkshire pudn a par with Christmas. However this tradition stopped in the 18th century.

Super suggestion…

Why not celebrate by creating your own feast? You could cook traditional English food such as roast beef and Yorkshire puddings or steak and kidney pie.

Happy Easter from

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Have you entered our Inspire! competition?

You’ve only got a couple of weeks left to enter our competition to win £1500 for your school. It’s simple to enter – all you have to do is submit an inspiring lesson plan based around cooking with flour. Take a look on to find out more and download an entry form.

It’s Easter!

We all know and love hot cross buns but what is the history and tradition behind them?

hot_cross buns

Some people used to believe that a hot cross bun eaten on Good Friday (the day that Jesus was crucified) would protect their homes from fire. Some Christians believe that the cross on the top of the bun represents the cross that Jesus died on.

Did you know…?

Every year on Good Friday, a hot cross bun ceremony takes place at The Widow’s Son pub in London. A Royal Navy sailor hangs a bun from one of the old wooden beams. A religious service then takes place which is followed by singing and drinking. But why do they do this? The story is that a widow and her only son who was a sailor in the Navy lived in a cottage on the site of the pub. He was due to return home on Good Friday (said to be in 1824) and had asked his mother to bake him some hot cross buns. Sadly he never returned.

But every Good Friday from then on, his mother had a new bun waiting for him. She kept all of the buns from previous years and when she died, the buns were found hanging from a beam in her cottage.

Time is running out to enter Inspire! and St Patrick’s Day is coming

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Have you entered our Inspire! competition?

There’s just over a month to go so don’t forget to send us your entries by 20 April to be in with a chance of winning £1500 for your school. Take a look on to find out more and download an entry form.

St Patrick’s Day is on Wednesday 17 March

On 17 March, the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. HistorIrish soda breadians know that he was born to wealthy parents at the end of the 4th century. It is thought that he died around 17 March 460 A.D.

For several years he was held captive by Irish raiders and it was during this time that he became a devout Christian. He tried to incorporate native Irish beliefs into the religion to encourage people to follow it, for example, lighting a bonfire to celebrate Easter as traditionally the Irish honoured their gods with fire.

Why don’t you join in the celebrations and bake some Irish soda bread? You can find the recipe here.

Super tip!

Try adding two teaspoons of cinnamon, one teaspoon of nutmeg and half a teaspoon of allspice for a spicy treat, or adding currants or herbs.

Important dates for your diary

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Have you reserved your tickets for the Education Show 2010?  Now in its 20th year the show will take place between 4-6 March at the NEC Birmingham.  For further information and to register visit

With less than two months to go, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enter the Inspire! competition!  With a closing date of 20 April, now is the perfect opportunity to enter this exciting competition to ensure your school is in with a chance to win a prize of £1500.  It is extremely simple to enter, and to find out more and download an entry form visit

Mothering Sunday 14 March has been celebrated in the UK on the fourth Sunday in Lent since at least the 16th century.  It is a time when children say thank you to their mothers by giving them a gift and a card or perhaps take them breakfast in bed.  Did you know that Mothering Sunday is also sometimes known as Simnel Sunday because of the tradition of baking Simnel cakes?

This year Mothering Sunday is on 14 March but is not on a fixed date each year because it is always the middle Sunday in Lent (which lasts from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday).  Around the world, the most popular date for celebrating Mother’s day is the second Sunday in May, but many countries have their own traditions with different dates.

For more ideas on the perfect breakfast click on the recipes below:

Scrambled egg and bacon baskets

Fruity porridge

Season’s Greetings

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Season’s Festivities

With the end of term drawing near plus Christmas and New Year on their way why not explore celebrations from around the world. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus and you can find out how other faiths commemorate the birth of their religion’s founders or leaders here. Also featured on the site are examples of worldwide celebrations to welcome the new year. You can also investigate the origins and traditions of Hogmanay and bake some scrummy Scottish shortbread.  

Energy BalanceEnergenie

One component of most festivities is food. As well as feasting on large meals, holidays are a time associated with increased snacking, often on foods that are high in sugar and/or fat. The Grain Chain has devoted  sections for both 7-11 year olds and 11-14 year olds examining the balance of energy input and output and its foundation as part of a healthy balanced diet. There is also an ‘Energenie’ game which students can play online.


20091207 Wholegrain Goodness

Wholegrain Goodness

Continuing the theme of diet and nutrition, check out  It is an independent campaign whose aims are to raise awareness of the health benefits and versatility of wholegrains. On their site you can find out what constitutes a wholegrain, recommended daily intake, delicious recipes and the first instalment of the wholegrain videocasts.

Welcome back!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Wheat being harvested Welcome

School’s been back for some time now, classrooms feel like home again and the summer holidays feel like a distant memory. The Grain Chain blog is returning for its second ‘season’ with updates to keep you informed of the latest news and classroom ideas with information and worksheets from the site. 


As the nights become shorter and darker we wave a fond farewell to the long hot summer days.  The cereal crops are mostly harvested and the good September weather has been a bonus for farmers. Rain during harvesting can spell disaster for crops. Wheat is the main cereal crop grown in the UK and home-grown wheat makes up for about 75% of the wheat milled in the UK.  Therefore a successful harvest is vital to both farmers and consumers alike. The Grain Chain has developed an activity sheet aimed at 7-11 year olds investigating the growing year and regional variations in the size of the UK wheat crop. You can find it here.


Typically the end of the harvest is marked with a harvest festival.  These celebrations occur all over the world as well as in the UK.  Take a look at our section on harvest celebrations and discover the origins and customs of the festivities in the UK, the USA, India and China.

Also around the corner are Halloween and Fireworks Night.  Introduce baking to your classroom and try some Yorkshire Parkin


The Grain Chain and Licence to Cook are delighted to provide this opportunity for innovative teachers to demonstrate their passion and flair for practical food-based work in the classroom. Inspire! is open to all teachers of students aged 11-14 years across the UK.  Teachers can enter by submitting original classroom ideas, resources or lesson plans.  Find out more at Good luck!

Summer Show Update

The Grain Chain TGrain Arteam have been busy this summer attending shows up and down the country to educate children about where their food comes from, and alternative uses of grain.

Bread Baking was the activity for schools at the Royal Highland Show.  Her Majesty the Queen and The Princess Royal visiPrincess Royalted the stand. Children at the Royal Norfolk Show got creative with a Grain Art activity. Then to complete the summer shows, Bread Baking, Grain Art and Paper Making activities were organised for the Royal Show Education Village, which welcomed over 7000 school visitors during the four days.

DATA conference, Royal Show and ‘credit crunch lunches’

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Design and Technology conference

The Annual Design and Technology Asssociation conference is taking place at Loughborough University on Tuesday 30 June – Thursday 2 July. Wednesday’s food-related activities include sessions on ‘Implementing the new healthy eating policies through your food lessons’ and from Sainsbury’s Active Kids Get Cooking, and on Thursday you can learn about ‘Training the next generation of food teachers’.  To view the complete conference programme and book a place at the conference, visit the Design and Technology Association website at

The Royal Show 7 – 10 July 2009 rs-logo-gold-blue-cmyk

This year’s Royal Show is taking place from 7- 10 July in Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. The Royal Show is ‘the UK’s leading agricultural show’ and is presented by the Royal Agricultural Society of England. The Grain Chain Team will be attending the Royal Show and will be appearing at the Education Village. Organised by Face and with support from the HGCA and DairyCo, the Education Village is hoping to attract over 6000 school children.  The HGCA team will be doing paper-making, bread-baking and the grain art activity. DairyCo will be introducing children to the working life of a dairy farm, with free samples of milk, cheese and yoghurt samples.  Come along and try it for yourself!

For general information about this year’s Royal Show, visit To find out more about the Education Village and school visits, go to

‘Credit crunch lunch’ means more making their own sandwiches

According to a recent newspaper article, sales of bread are rising as more people make their own packed lunches to take to work or school.  You could take a look at the recipe section on the Grain Chain site for ideas for homemade snacks for packed lunches and suggest your pupils make their own.  They could then report back in class on the success of their lunch, how they might improve it next time they make it and so on.

Children’s Food Festival and other events

Friday, June 5th, 2009

cff-logo-09-rgb1Dates for your diary

The Children’s Food Festival in Oxfordshire is taking place on Saturday 27 June and Sunday 28 June in the beautiful new setting of the Northmoor Trust Farm, 10 miles south of Oxford. This year the Festival celebrates ‘the colourful world of food’ and is fronted by celebrity chefs Raymond Blanc and Sophie Grigson. For more information, visit their website

The Grain Chain Team will be attending the Royal Highland Show, which takes place 25 – 28 June at Ingliston, Edinburgh.  We will be working alongside the Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU) in the Royal Highland Centre doing a bread baking activity. The two school days are 25 and 26 June; the Royal Highland Education Trust also provides various educational activities.  

 We will also be attending the Royal Norfolk Show at the Norfolk Showground on 1 and 2 July. This year we will be working with oilseed rape and demonstrating to children how you can make rapeseed oil using a cold press. We will also use this as an opportunity to talk about the end products and sustainability. The show is the largest two-day agricultural show in the country. There will be something for everybody, from farm machinery and livestock to sampling local produce.

Healthy schools

Bread and wheat products form part of a balanced diet. How about introducing your students to some of the healthy recipes on the Grain Chain site as part of a lesson on healthy eating? 

The Grain Chain on YouTube!

The Grain Chain now has its very own YouTube channel. There you can search for and watch videos and podcasts exploring the Grain Chain all in one place, share and comment on them with other users. Check it out at

 White bread sales up due to credit crunch

According to a recent article in The Grocer magazine, sales of white bread have increased during the recession, with shoppers perceiving white bread as a ‘cheaper, more family-friendly option’. Asda bread buyer Chris Bates is quoted as saying that the quality of white bread has improved in recent times. How about conducting a class survey to see how many students prefer white/brown bread, followed by a blind tasting to see whether it reflects their views? Students could then compare the nutritional values of white and brown bread.

New podcast, recipe ideas for Father’s Day and lots more

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Long hot summer predicted

Early weather predictions are forecasting a long, hot dry summer, which is great news for summer barbecues and festivals, but what are the implications for grain production? If you are planning a lesson on the growing year, there are plenty of resources on the Grain Chain site to support you. For example, this activity on growing our food shows how temperature affects wheat growth for students aged 7 to 11.  

Don’t forget Dad! 

Sunday 21 June is Father’s Day. Why don’t you suggest your students cook dad breakfast to say thank you? The Grain Chain recipe for scrambled egg and bacon baskets would be ideal, or students could use the recipe search function and select ‘breakfasts’ to find other ideas.

New Grain Chain podcast

The third topical Grain Chain podcast has recently been published on the site. This time, the theme is ‘Food and Values’, where you can join teenager Franz in his quest to find out what matters most to consumers in an economic downturn.

Open Farm Sundayofs_logo

Sunday 7 June is Open Farm Sunday: an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the countryside, discover what it means to be a farmer and try produce fresh from the farm. The Open Farm Sunday website promises that ‘each event will be unique with its own activities – based around the host farm’s individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers markets or picnics.’ Use their handy ‘find a farm’ search tool to find your nearest farm hosting an event.

Grain Chain Team at the Highland Show

The Royal Highland Show takes place on the 25 – 28 June 2009.  This year the Grain Chain Team will be baking bread rolls alongside a milling activity.  This gives the children an opportunity to see how wheat is turned into flour to make the bread rolls. To find out more about the Royal Highland Show visit