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1. Vegetables provide the entertainment at London’s children’s parties

The best kids parties are full of colour, music, games and laughter. A Secret Seed Society children’s party will bring you all this with vegetables as the stars, the heroes, the entertainers. Your guests will leave with a bounce in their step and an excitement for growing and eating vegetables.

“Vegetables are great food for the imagination, the colours, textures, flavours, and processes from growing, to cooking and finally composting.” Ash Perrin, Secret Seed Society Entertainer.

The parties bring to life characters from the Seed City storybooks. If your child has a favourite vegetable or character let us know and we’ll incorporate it into the show. if you want a special theme just let us know; Pirate Parsnips, Ghoulish Gourds, Princess and the Pea. Remember Cinderella went to the ball in a pumpkin!

Sugar coated pink cup cakes and over the top goodie bags are out, London’s best children’s entertainers are ready to pick up their box of vegetable tricks and visit your party! The parties are adapted to suit your group. We recommend our parties for 3-9 years old.





We provide party bags and prizes that provide fun and inspiration for all the kids after the party has ended without compromising your eco and ethical standards.






Secret Seed Society has worked to make vegetables more loveable through storybooks, theatre shows and workshops but now you can invite us to your birthday party.
Email fun@secretseedsociety.com with the details of your party and we will let you know if we can make it and give you a quote, or call Amy 07779 080776.
Secret Seed Society kids parties are currently available in London, if you are not London based please contact us to express your interest.
Specs: max 30 kids, 2 hours, space provided / chosen by you.




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2. Children’s recipe for mince sauce for spaghetti or jacket potatoes or pizza

Susan shows her new recipe book.

Diabetic Diva Susan with her latest recipe book.

I asked our friend Susan http://www.diabetic-diva.com/ also known as Diabetic Diva whether she had some recipes that children could cook with their grown up.

Diabetic recipes are ‘Healthy’ because they have limited amounts of refined sugars and salts so if you want more healthy recipes take a look at her website.
Remember you don’t have to be diabetic to enjoy Susan’s tasty recipes, in fact eating these healthy feasts can help prevent you becoming diabetic so tuck in!

TWIRLY SPAGHETTI & MINCE SAUCE

A family favourite and so easy to make. The mince can be prepared in a batch and frozen for at least 3 months. Good with jacket potatoes, rice, pasta, mock pizza.

Main ingredient: Mince beef, spaghetti Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves 4:

EQUIPMENT
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Can opener
Measuring spoon
Large saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon

For spaghetti
Measuring jug
Measuring spoon
Medium size saucepan with lid
Spoon for stirring

INGREDIENTS
500g lean ground mince beef
½ sweet pepper, roughly chopped
½ onion roughly chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried Italian herbs

METHOD
COOK the mince in a pot stirring with a wooden spoon until it’s brown in colour and no pink bits remain. ADD the onion and peppers and cook for another 3 minutes
NEXT add all the other ingredients and let meat mixture cook until the sauce starts to bubble. TURN the heat down to low and let this cook for at least 20 minutes
SERVE with spaghetti and a salad (even a teeny weeny one would be great) Remember your 5 A Day.

SPAGHETTI
PUT 500ml of water and ¼ tsp salt into a pot
LET it boil
ADD 100g wholemeal spaghetti to the boiling water
COOK for 8 minutes (al dente) cooked still firm
DRAIN and put on a plate
SPOON some mince sauce over
If you like sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over and dried parsley.

Try these
Make mock pizzas using the mince sauce. Slice a wholemeal French roll in 2. Spoon some of the sauce over and about 2 tbsp grated cheese. Grill under hot grill until cheese melts.

Or add red kidney beans, ½ to 1 tsp chilli powder and dried Italian herbs to make chilli.
Here is Susan cooking with some children.

Susan cooking with some young friends.

Children love to cook when there's a grown-up to help.

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3. Weekly news on all things green, eco and foodie!

We have started collecting news items that interest us from the internet. There are links to sustainability ideas, seasonal growing and cooking. This is this weeks collection….subscribe to be reminded each time it comes out.


Let us know what you think at fun@secretseedsociety.com

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4. Pumpkin recipes, fancy dress and half-term ideas


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5. Pumpkin fun after halloween

Get cooking with your Jack-O-lantern and make some delicious meals.

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6. Cool for Kids Stocking Fillers & Gifts

 Original, ethical and educational presents to be enjoyed by Children and grown-ups together.

Little stocking filler, perfect for posting £5

Chrissie Cress’ or Mingo Mungbean’s Story & Seed Pack.
I recommend either of these packs for a super speedy, indoor growing adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starter Kit £10

The ultimate Starter Kit ; storybook and seeds of your chosen vegetable and funky windowsill propagator. The propagator is colourful, re-usable and made from recycled plastic in the UK.

 

 

 

NEW! Hand Forged Secret Seed Society Trowel £15 not just for kids!

This is a beautifully crafted tool for keen young gardeners or those with smaller hands. Made in Holland to last a life-time. Combine with Story & Seed Packs for the complete Secret Seed Society experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOXSET £20

Our most popular gift, the first 4 Story & Seed Packs as a Boxset. All printed in the UK with vegetables inks. READ, GROW, COOK & EAT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW!PERSONALISED Garden Tool Giftset £60  not just for kids!

These tools will last a lifetime. A spade, mattock and rake with long handles will cover most of the gardening jobs. Great for raised beds. The tools will now arrive in the New Year, so we will send a Secret Seed Gift card to your lucky recipient for Xmas to let them know their tolls will arrive shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL OFFER FREE POSTAGE ON ALL XMAS ORDERS

Get in touch if you have any questions about our products or would like to have Secret Seed Society at your Xmas Fayre, we can offer you a retailer discount if you’d like to sell them for your fundraiser.

Best Amy & Shena xx

I love TED talks so I was well chuffed to get asked to talk about ‘My Adventures with Vegetables’

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7. ‘a minor miracle….turned gardening into something kids can understand’ says The Ecologist

The star of 'A Frisbee to Fly'

Read my story in 'A Frisbee to Fly' then grow me for my special pizza

 

Rio Rocket, star of A Frisbee to fly, the latest story&seed pack in the Seed City series wins praise from The Ecologist.

Read here how Secret Seed Society entices children into the garden and kitchen.

You can buy any of the Seed City series and extra seeds in our shop.

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8. How Three Sisters Planting Works – Maize, Squash, Bean

Getting Maize (Sweetcorn), Squash (Courgette, Marrow, Pumpkin) and Bean (Pea, Beans) to grow together is one of the oldest and most talked about poly-culture methods of planting. The basic principle behind planting these three plants together is quite simple, the Maize supplies support for the beans, the squash helps to suppress weeds by providing a ground cover (a bit like a living mulch) and the beans fix nitrogen into the soil. Once the corn matures the squashes should be close to reaching maturity and the corn can be harvested allowing the squash to take over the plot. This method of planting is an excellent way to grow a number of different crops in a small space. It does work best in tropical countries but the method can be put into place in the UK or any other temperate climate with the help of some canes to support the beans and peas.

The overall yield for all three would be greater than a mono-crop in a similar sized area. It is therefore ideal for the urban gardener with a very limited amount of growing space. The three plants together can also look quite attractive and could act as a decorative border within a garden as well as a good source of food.

A variation on this planting regime would be sunflowers instead of corn.

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9. Timeout in the garden

What did Amy recommend to plant in Timeout’s urban kitchen garden? It’s all edible, colourful, structural and aimed to give a tasty crop even for first time gardeners! Read more

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10. Tasty recipes make cooking and eating vegetables irresistible to the whole family

As the club for children that love to grow, cook and eat vegetables, Secret Seed Society was thrilled to review Arthur Potts Dawson’s recipe book, Eat Your Veg. Here is what happened when we showed it to some of our Secret Seed Agents.

Arthur Potts Dawson's book that excites the senses around delicious food.

Wonderful taste combinations for the whole family to enjoy cooking and eating.

The pages were quickly turned, we all “oohed” and “aahed” over the colourful dishes. Mouth watering photography and plenty of tasty recipes left us hungry to get cooking and eating vegetables.

We like to be brave with trying out new flavours and Arthur’s book was full of inspiration to get creative in the kitchen, like pea & mint lollipops, adding ginger to his carrot soup, pairing parsnip with lemon, rocket with watercress oil, beetroot with cumin and coriander.

Secret Seed Society helps families make the most of what they have in their garden, in store or left over.  We’re not fans of recipes that are too prescriptive and make you feel you have to go and buy lots of ingredients because nothing else will do. We think it makes you a less creative cook and also leads to waste, especially when you grow your own veg. We felt Arthur was on the same page as us, keen that nothing should be wasted, he uses discarded asparagus trimmings to make ‘Waste not Asparagus Soup’.

Arthur Potts Dawson has produced a glorious new book Eat Your Veg

Arthur is keen to excite people about veg.

 

Arthur has been a hero of ours for some years for his connections with the Shoreditch Trust and Peoples Supermarket. An understanding of food, its growing, cooking and eating is of such great importance to us all on a personal and a global level.

 

This beautiful book will inspire the whole family to cook a rainbow of veg whatever the season and we are already working out some alternative lollys with our Seed Agents. Umm what about butternut squash and rosemary?

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11. How SSS fulfils current educational policies and initiatives

1. National Framework for Sustainable Schools

The government would like all schools to be sustainable by 2020, and has produced guidance within an eight-doorway framework. SSS adheres to two of these doorways in particular; food and drink, and purchasing and waste. Schools can be sustainable through being model suppliers of healthy, sustainable food and drink; showing strong commitments to the environment; and maximising their use of local suppliers. SSS achieves this through increasing children’s awareness of where food comes from, food chains, and the processes used in growing, harvesting and food preparation.

SSS connects to the purchasing and waste doorway by carefully sourcing goods and services of high environmental and ethical standards that have been obtained from local sources where practicable. All of SSS’s materials for each book and accompanying pack compliment these principles.

2. Healthy Schools

In ten years the National Healthy Schools programme has become one of the country’s most widely embraced initiatives in schools. Schools need to satisfy criteria in the four core themes within the programme: Healthy eating, physical activity, PSHE, and emotional health and well-being.

SSS promotes inclusion through bringing together cross-curricular learning through an interactive approach. Children initially engage in a written and visual text, and have close links to ICT through the website extras. Connecting the imaginative seed-based characters with further learning opportunities brings an extra ‘real and meaningful’ experience to learning, and allows for children’s individual learning styles.
Activities such as growing seeds, or making recipes supports all areas of Healthy Schools and promotes positive emotional health and wellbeing so children can understand and express their feelings, build their confidence and emotional resilience, and therefore their capacity to learn.

3. Every Child Matters Agenda

Every Child Matters: Change for Children is a comprehensive approach to the well-being of children and young people from birth to age 19. The five outcomes for children and young people are: Be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve through learning, make a positive contribution to society, and achieve economic well-being.

SSS encourages children to work together in more integrated and effective ways through growing, harvesting and cookery based activities that link with the central imaginative narratives of the stories. Children are learning and reflecting on their environment through a variety of creative and exciting cross-curricular links, and our fulfilling of outcomes of the Every Child Matters agenda.

4. Growing Schools Initiative

Growing schools promotes learning outside the classroom and has been founded in response to the government’s needs for children to have the chance to learn in new, more relevant and exciting ways. By having direct experiences of growing within the natural environment, this has been shown to be particularly effective in benefiting those who find classroom learning difficult.

SSS connects directly with this principle through developing children’s understanding of where food comes from and the role of farmers and growers, the interdependence of the urban and rural environments, and how and why we should care for the natural world.

5. Learning outside the classroom

Learning

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12. Eat the Seasons : Autumn

Eating what you grow with child friendly recipes and cooking tips.

Runner Beans

Have you spent the summer nurturing and tending  your runners?  Well now is the time to get harvesting! But remember to send us a picture of your longest runner bean for our giant bean competition.

Looking for the longest bean

Is there a bean long enough for the Giant Bean Competition?

 Runner Beans give your plate brilliant colour and taste great! Try them boiled with your roast dinners; stir-fried in oil with garlic, peppers, beansprouts and chicken; or in a warm new potato and mackerel salad.
 
 

 

Spinach

Popeye knew what he was doing when he indulged in these leafy greens. Spinach is bursting with nutritional value. You can chop it up and stir it round in a frying pan with a drop of olive oil. after a few minutes it will have become much more ‘solid’ and reduced in size…delicious in our tartlets recipe with a little bit of cheese.

Courgettes

Another vegetable that is versatile.  Looks a bit like a cucumber but has a whole taste of its own! 

Courgettes are easy for children to chop up and good for their cookery skills.

Wow! this courgette was yellow! It added colour to our tartlets.

 We put it in our tartlets but it is also great in stir-fries or mixed with tomatoes, peppers and onions in a ratatouille. Another favourite is in muffins or cakes.  You could even try it raw with carrot, pepper and celery sticks with a tasty dip to dunk it in.

 
 
 
 

Berries

Blackberries are bountiful this year, take a walk and pick your own. If you manage not to eat them all before you get home try mixing them into some plain yoghurt for a delicious pud.

Carrots

These are a wonderful colour…normally bright orange but did you know carrots were purple originally? For lots of ideas for making carrot soup see Carla Carrot.

Leila and Lucy pulling carrots

Carrots add lots of colour to other dishes or can be used to make a wonderful soup.

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13. Eat the Seasons

We’re all familiar with the benefits of eating a healthy diet, but it seems the importance of eating seasonably is less well-known.  Those who already grow their own will agree when I say that fruit and veg are at their best when freshly picked. But there’s more to eating seasonably than this.

For a helping hand click on the images below to see when different fruit and veg are in season:

Autumn

Winter (coming soon)

Spring (coming soon)

Summer (coming soon)

Secret Seed Society, child-friendly recipes and tips for growing and cooking with kids for a healthier, happier future.

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14. Why Eat Seasonably?

Any idea when courgettes come into season? How about cucumbers? No? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Research shows that most people aren’t sure when most British fruit and vegetables are in season which is a real shame as it means they’re missing out on when they’re at their absolute best.

While it’s easy to enjoy blueberries with your breakfast in winter, being accustomed to buying whatever we want, whenever we want it means we are increasingly becoming disconnected from our food and its relationship with nature. Eating with the seasons means getting back in touch with nature’s rhythms and eating the right thing at the right time. What could be more delicious than a crisp salad when it’s hot and sunny a wholesome stew when it’s cold? Ask any chef and they’ll tell you that fruit and veg are at their best when they’ve just been picked, so why settle for sickly looking strawberries in Winter or unappetising asparagus in Autumn?

Reasons to eat seasonably:

Leila and Lucy pulling carrots

1. Fruit and veg are at their freshest and tastiest when they are first picked

2. Eating seasonably is a great way of eating more sustainably

Growing fruit and veg in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs like heating, lighting, pesticides and fertilisers than at other times of the year and so has a lower environmental impact.

3. Grocery bills are cheaper due in part by reduced transportation and production costs for growers. Everybody wins!

Get the whole family involved! Try cooking and eating seasonably to experience the joy of eating fruit and vegetables at their peak of perfection: fresher, tastier, better value and better for the environment. For more info check out our ‘Eat the Seasons’ page, and also our recipes page.

Our friends at Eat Seasonably also have a great interactive calendar that will keep you in the know all year through, click here to view.


Secret Seed Society, child-friendly recipes and tips for growing and cooking with kids for a healthier, happier future.

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15. God Grant Me The Serenity...


You may recall that I was on the cover of November's School Library Journal with some lovely ladies. If you don't recall, dude, it was only last month!

For your viewing pleasure, the cover. And for your reading pleasure, my posts on the story (This Blog's For You) and being on the cover (The Story Behind the Photoshoot).

Of course, I was interested in what people had to say about the cover. Heard some very nice things about the photograph. Had some great conversations with people about blogs and blogging inspired by the story. Was even recognized for being on the cover! (OK, it was at a school library conference but it still counts!)

And so it was with great eagerness I saw that yay, it was December, so the December SLJ would be online and I could read the letters!

Um. Yeah.

Here's the link to the letters: Some Readers Couldn't Stand Our November Cover. Now We Need A Drink. I know that people are more inclined to write a letter to complain than to praise, but it would have been nice had there been a positive letter amongst the others. And let me shout a big "THANK YOU" to those who are leaving positive comments to the letters article.

It's a little ironic that on the day I post a book review praising the portrayal of someone with alcoholism for being well-rounded and fair (Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr), I read these letters.

Having a drink in my hand? Really? (For the record... sugar water with colored dye to give the photo a bit of "pop" since we were largely in gray, white and black.) And as I read on, I thought of a line from one of my favorite movies.



"look at you... you have a baby. in a bar."

Being shocked at a baby in a bar? One thing. Being shocked at grown ups in a bar? A bit different; and I don't find anything inappropriate with either a librarian or a blogger being in a bar or having a drink. (Tho, speaking seriously -- don't drink and blog. You'll regret it. The post lives on in RSS).

And as for the "oh no substance abuse! drinking!"

I have friends and family who are Friends of Bill W. So, yeah, it's not something I take lightly. I'm not putting up anything else that will go against what that second "A" stands for. But remember -- keep coming back. It works if you work it!

Those Friends of Bill W. have seen the cover and liked it and got it. Got the Mad Men aspect, the idea of this being a visual representation of online community of people who rarely meet up in person. Anyway. So I asked someone close to me (anonymous, remember?) about this, forwarding the links, and I got this text back: "tell them u love the sober peeps too."

And I do! I love the sober peeps! And the peeps who aren't!

So, let's turn this into something POSITIVE.

Hey, guys, lets do what bloggers do and m

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16. Great Truths Along the Road of Life from the Internet



GREATTRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:

1)No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats..
 2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
 3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch thesecond person.
 4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
 5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food..
 6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair..
 7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
 8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
 9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
 10) 
The best placeto be when you're sad is Grandma's lap.

 
cid:5A79C25D350F4758B483C044F9898CAF@home

GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVELEARNED:
 
1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.
 2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
 3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts
 4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday
's nut that held its ground...
 5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
 6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not thetoy..

 
GREAT TRUTHSABOUT GROWING OLD

 1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional...
 2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
 3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're downthere.
 4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rockingchair that you once got from a roller coaster.
 5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers

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17. Growing Seeds with kids all year round

CLICK : Download to print

CLICK: BUY DIRECT

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18. Costa Rica Calls for 101 SECRETS!


My first "review" of 1O1 SECRETS! A KNAPSACK OF INSPIRATION AND HOPE is in, and it comes from a friend who is a very independent thinker. She and her husband Ron retired to Costa Rica. They built a home and turned one of the large rooms in their home into a local library out of the goodness of their hearts. And this is what she wrote about 101 SECRETS!:


I just read your bookand think it is very worthwhile and a book that needs to be read by every “tweenager.”We have sent it on to a couple of teacher friends. Do you see the possibilityof a Spanish translation in your future? I would love to buy one for mylibrary. This book could make the difference in so many children's lives!

Love, to you andMarilyn,
Suzanne Yankowski

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19. How Secret Seed Helps Learning

What we see, hear, taste, touch, smell and do gives us six main ‘pathways to learning’. Young people are intensely curious and should be given the opportunity to use all of their senses to explore the world around them.

The potential for learning is maximised if we use the powerful combination of visual, audio and kinaesthetic (doing) ways of learning as well as providing children with the freedom to be creative and informally learn through play. The value of learning outside  the classroom is now forming part of many new educational initiatives, and the ethos of SSS’s work is to compliment and facilitate this. We can help you with our interactive theatre show, workshops and lesson ideas

The educational value of SSS means that it is addressing statutory curricular requirements within a cross-curricular and creative way.

• Literacy: Each story is designed to challenge and stimulate readers in early KS2. Imaginatively animated pictures alongside the text also allow younger children (KS1) to enjoy following and responding to the stories. Grammatical structure and use of developing techniques such as alliteration and metaphor provide extensions for engagement with the text.

• Science & Technology: The illustrations are designed to familiarise children with the name of a wide range of vegetables. The context for the stories relate to understanding the purpose, value and nature of plants, food and growing. Children learn how to grow their own seeds, and to understand what is needed to turn a seed into food. Linked to each seed type are accompanying recipes which connect plants with our diet, and allow children to explore the sensory qualities of materials, and healthy eating.

- SSS’s website is filled with interactive links so children can share experiences of growing seeds and making recipes. With links to facebook, twitter and a SSS blog site, children can share their experiences of reading, growing and cookery within a safe and secure environment.

• Art and Design: The books and website feature original artwork where characters and settings are created using an imaginative combination of collage and photography to create a visual storyboard which follows alongside the text. The images themselves introduce children to mixed-media art and design which lend to creative follow-up projects. Also featured on the website is a short animation film which could be transferred to school projects.

• Personal development: Children need to understand more about the world in which they live, and how they interact with the natural environment and its resources. Children build creative and independence skills through direct experiences of growing seeds and cooking, allowing them to become better problem-solvers, increasing confidence and self-esteem.

• Sustainable development: The need for our future generation to be aware of the need for sustainability is a priority in learning for life. SSS holds this principle at heart with all products used in producing the book and accompanying resources being sourced from sustainable plant materials. Children gain an insight into recycling, and alternative ways in which to produce materials without being harmful to the environment and to limit waste.

• Other curricular areas: Geography (interacting with the environment); and Citizenship, the books are designed to promote togetherness, reading together, planting together, cooking together and eating together a complete journey.

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