Branston launched Billy Branston's Amazing Potato Factory in August 2014 to help primary schoolchildren all around the UK to learn more about where their food comes from. Instead of bringing schoolchildren to our potato packing factories, we took our Amazing Potato Factory to them.
The initative was a great success. It was fully booked throughout every term and it travelled the length and breadth of the UK visiting schools. We quickly reached our initial target of 10,000 children on board during the first year and enthusiasm never waned.
Groups of up to 15 children at a time spent an hour-long session learning all about potatoes and where they come from. First they watched a video, then they separated into smaller groups to take part in hands-on activities, aligned with the National Curriculum for KS1 and KS2.
They found out how to prepare the soil and plant potatoes, when they are grown and harvested and how they are stored to keep them fresh. They had a go at the type of grading, sizing and weighing we do in our potato factories and learnt about the many different ways to eat potatoes and how important they are as part of a healthy balanced diet. We ran up to four sessions a day, with all the children getting the chance to taste some samples at lunchtime.
Billy Branston's bus finally retired in May 2017, after 25,000 children had been on board.