Leading agricultural education organisation, LEAF Education welcomed hundreds of GCSE students from schools across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to its #FarmMyFood activity day.
#FarmMyFood which took place on Friday 21st June at Elveden Estate, offered an immersive and interactive day for 13-15 year olds to increase their interest and engagement in farming, highlight the significance of good business skills, grow their awareness and appreciation of local produce, learn about nutrition and healthy eating as well as profile career opportunities available in the agricultural sector.
Designed specifically for students studying for Business and Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE’s together with their teachers, the hands-on event included business and food workshops and careers surgeries run by local businesses, colleges and Universities, sessions around animal welfare, sustainability and the environment, health and nutrition and the future of the food industry. Cookery and butchery demonstrations from local chefs, a tour of Elveden Farms (a LEAF Demonstration Farm) together with a wide range of exhibitors showcasing local produce also gave students an opportunity to see first-hand the processes involved in food production and help them understand the links between what they eat and the environment around them. Students were also encouraged to take part in a group challenge to design and market their own online food box menu.
Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF Education said:“Last year, LEAF Education commissioned a piece of pioneering research with 12 to 18 year olds to explore their views and values in relation to farming and how food is produced. Encouragingly, 35% of the teenager respondents felt that young people should be more interested in how food is produced with a further 32% saying they would consider a career in farming, but only 22% said they had received relevant careers information. Today’s #FarmMyFood event is a direct response to these findings. It has been about reaching out to young people, giving them the right information, raising knowledge about the role of farming in their everyday lives as well as to important issues that many young people are concerned about – climate change, food security, sustainability, health and wellbeing. We have had an incredible day with students leaving us stimulated and enthused about farming and the career opportunities available in the sector, and teachers more aware of the explicit links to the curriculum within the food chain.”
Gaina Dunsire, LEAF Education Regional Consultant for the East of England, and the inspiration behind #FarmMyFood, added:“We have been overwhelmed by the response today from both students and teachers. The full spectrum of the agricultural community came together to provide these young people with a stimulating and engaging insight into farming and what it delivers. Students have seen, tasted, touched and heard about the exciting work taking place within agriculture and how it relates to their own lives and the issues that matter to them. In the long term, we hope the day has also highlighted to teachers the wide range of learning opportunities which exist on farms and the support that LEAF Education can offer. We would love to see more learning take place outside the classroom; to enrich learning, promote well-being and improve knowledge about healthy, nutritious food made from UK produce.
“The success of today is due to all our wonderful sponsors, whose support has enabled us to run the event and also fund transport costs for schools, to the many and varied businesses, food producers, chefs, nutritionists and entrepreneurs for sharing their expertise, to students and teachers for their enthusiasm and engagement and of course, to Elveden Estate for hosting us. A huge thank you to all.”