We were back at Green Farm Kent this August with 11 families from Hackney, Southwark and Hammersmith, for their first ever camping trip! It was great to see everyone with big smiles, breathing fresh air and relaxing...
The first thing the children got stuck into when they arrived was blackberry picking (soon we had so many blackberries we were left with no choice but to make a huge blackberry and apple crumble over the fire). The crumble ended up being a breakfast crumble (no one was complaining) and the blackberries turned all our mouths purple!! In fact blackberries became the staple of everyone onsite for the whole trip...
The first night we survived something of downpour, but thankfully the wonderful summer weather returned for the remaining days.
Cooking for 46 people - including 26 children - can be quite the challenge, but Harry (our head chef) pulled it off with only minor hiccups and every evening served a tasty vegetarian meal. Our friends at Bread Station kindly donated their incredible Famiglia bread and tasty rolls and Green Farm lent us extra Dutch Ovens so we could do the main meals over the fire. For brewing up tea and coffee, soups, pasta and rive the Vango Kitchen Cuisines and a big new Vango family stove was essential. And of course, cooking marshmallows over the fire was compulsory!
One favourite activity was making friends with the pigs, sheep and chickens on our daily visits with Farmer Martin. The children got a chance to hold the chickens and collect their eggs. We would visit the pigs at breakfast and watch them scoffing down out-of-date milk (returned to the manufacturer by supermarkets) and windfall apples. Malika even had a go at riding the mother pig, who was having none of it!
Family Camping is not just about having a holiday, it's about helping families gain the confidence to go on their own camping trips.
This year there the families were able to taking part in the Outdoor People Camping Academy to skill share the camping basics. Each day a member of the Outdoor People team with the help of parents demonstrated how to put up a Vango Halo 300 tent, a family tent and how to use both a light weight stove (such as the MSR Pocket Rocket 2) and the bigger Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker. Families are welcome to borrow our kit for their own adventures and we are always here to recommend a great camping spot!
Catherine, the green fingers behind Green Farm Kent's community garden gave us all a tour of the organic produce and we picked our ingredients for what is becoming an Outdoor People tradition: last night, Pizza Night!
"We really enjoyed our time camping in this beautiful setting. We appreciated the clean, fresh air and camping in nature, away from roads, pollution and usual stresses of London. We enjoyed meeting other families and eating delicious food together. Making the pizzas was really fun too!"
"It has been an amazing experience. the single best thing was watching my 3 year-old son play independently, make new friends and explore nature in a positive, family-friendly environment. I was able to slow down, forget about everything and being in the present. I have learn new skills and now look forward to having regular camping experiences."
"My most important experience was I felt I bonded with my children, being with them all the time without screens and phones was really enjoyable."