Nearly 3,000 primary schoolchildren will be visiting the eleventh Essex Schools Food and Farming Day!
The Essex Agricultural Society event, hosted at Writtle University College near Chelmsford, and supported by Essex County Council, is being held on Wednesday 6 June.
The fun, educational and interactive event gives Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils from across the county the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of farming, food production and the countryside.
The show area is divided into five zones – Machinery, Crops, Livestock, Countryside & Environment and Food – with a host of exhibitors inspiring pupils with their displays, demonstrations and interactive activities.
The aim is to give schoolchildren – some of whom have never visited a farm before – the opportunity to see how the Essex countryside works and meet those people who are responsible for its management and sustainability.
They will be given the opportunity to explore the link between food and farming, meet animals close-up, and get involved in a range of exciting activities. At this year’s event, they will be able to have a go at pressing oils, milling grain and making smoothies; hear the thunderous roar of a combine harvester at a machinery demonstration; see sheep being sheared and find out how farmers are helping to sustain wildlife.
The exhibits are based on links to the National Curriculum, offering an enjoyable and educational experience to pupils, with teachers encouraged to build it into subjects such as Science, History, Citizenship, ICT, Literacy, Art & Design and Geography.
Representatives of the local farming community act as stewards for each school group and Writtle University College staff and students help run the event alongside Essex Agricultural Society volunteers.
Karen Watson, Essex Agricultural Society organiser and school liaison officer, said: “The Essex Schools Food and Farming Day gives children the opportunity to leave the classroom to experience first-hand how their food is produced and to find out about the important role of farmers in the county.
“These children are our future consumers and countryside users, and it is important to explain to them how their food is produced, and, as farmers, how we look after the Essex countryside so that it is productive, bio-diverse and beautiful.”
Rosemary Padfield, chair of the event’s steering group, said: “Our aim is for the children to gain a greater understanding of how their food reaches the table and the work we as farmers do to protect and nurture the countryside. As the children pass through the five zones at this event, they can see the whole food cycle – from sowing the seed to the plants growing, and the end use in food production.”
This year’s event will be the first that Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor of Writtle University College, will attend. He said: “We are delighted to support food and farming businesses in Essex in showcasing the work they do to primary schools and, through this, to inspire the next generation, increasing their awareness and understanding of this vital sector of our economy.”