Farmwise Devon shows children where good food comes from

Posted on: 5 October 2017

Scores of primary school children from across Devon will migrate to Exeter next week to discover where good food comes from.

It’s the fifth annual Farmwise Devon event, organised by Devon County Council.

Around 1,400 pupils from more than 30 schools will be donning wellies, rolling up their sleeves and immersing themselves in the farming experience; touching, tasting and smelling their way around a diverse range of hands-on activities at the Westpoint Arena, on Tuesday 10 October.

This year the event is divided into 12 zones including Dairy, Beef, Sheep, Poultry, Wildlife, Environment, Fruit, Vegetables, Arable, Food, Pigs and Woodland.

Cllr Caroline Chugg

Councillor Caroline Chugg, Chairman of Devon County Council’s Farms Estate Committee, said:

“It’s really important that young children know about where their food comes from; that they’re able to see produce in the shops or at markets, and have an idea about how it’s grown, reared and produced.

“Farming and agriculture is so important to us in Devon, with many of us, including children coming to Farmwise Devon, involved in the industry.

“Farmwise really is a successful and enjoyable way to teach children about farming and where there food comes from. It is a day that is full of enthusiasm, fun, memorable experiences and laughter, a great way to learn.

“It’s also helping schools with their curriculum, supporting children’s classroom learning with practical hands-on experiences.”

Tenant farmers from the council’s farms Estate, and partners including Mole Valley Farm, Bicton Agricultural College and Devon Norse, will be guiding the children through each of the zones.

Highlights on the menu this year include milking a cow, feeding calves, sheep shearing, planting vegetables, apple pressing, and meeting the animals. There will be activities to show how produce, such as butter and cheese are made. And what ingredients go into fish fingers, sausages, scones, bread, and fruit smoothies.

John Lee, Chairman of Farmwise Devon and the DCAA Board of Management, said:

“This is the fifth year for Farmwise Devon, and we’ve got a treat in store for all the children. The object of the day is to have fun learning where food comes from, how it’s produced and why the countryside is so important to Devon. It’s also a great way of inspiring out next generation of young farmers, opening their minds to future career prospects in what is a very highly technical and skill industry.”

The event is funded through sponsorship, with the main sponsor being Mole Valley Farmers. Other financial support comes from Devon Norse, Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust, the Devon Farmers Benevolent Fund, NPS SW and Hele’s Educational Trust. The event is also supported by the Devon County Agricultural Association, Bicton College, and Devon Young Farmers Club.

Julie Edwards of Mole Valley Farmers, said:

“Mole Valley Farmers is really proud to support the event as we see the benefit of giving children a better understanding of how their food is produced. It gives them the opportunity to connect directly with farmers and understand all elements of food production, from field to fork.”

Devon Norse Managing Director, Mr Matt Wilby, said:

“Devon Norse’s involvement in Farmwise allows us to show the children the food journey for school meals we provide on a daily basis. They can literally see the process from the farm to the plate. The event allows them to not only see this process but to get involved be it from milking daisy the cow to making pasties. To be able to educate young children in such a way is something that Devon Norse are truly passionate about.”

Phil le Grice, Principal of Bicton College said:

“Bicton College is proud to have educated generations of food producers in the South West. Learning about food, where it comes from and how to build a sustainable career in the agriculture and food sector will be showcased for youngsters at Farmwise. As a leading agricultural college, Bicton College is delighted to be able to share our knowledge and expertise with visitors to raise awareness of the wide range of great careers available in food and farming.”

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