Farmwise Devon takes the food and farming message to 10,000th school child

Katie and friends from Brixington Primary Academy School were the 10,000th school children to visit Farmwise Devon since the events began.

Posted on: 13 October 2016

Farmwise Devon welcomed the ten thousandth primary school child through its doors at Exeter Westpoint Arena this week, as the event celebrated its fourth year educating children about where their food comes from.

Year two pupil, Katie Boore from Brixington Primary Academy, Exmouth, was among 1,400 children attending the event on Wednesday 11 October.

The interactive day was organised by Devon County Council and was designed to take primary school children on a food journey from field to fork using touch, taste and practical activities.

Katie said: “The best bit has been seeing the little pigs. I’ve been making apple juice and I played a game. I’ve learnt where food comes from, including from sheep, cows, pigs and goats.”

The event was split into 12 educational zones, including Beef, Fruit, Forestry, Dairy and Arable.

All of the children were encouraged to take part in hands-on activities, such as blending their own smoothie using bike pedal power, making their own scones and milking a pretend cow.

Ashburton Primary was another one of the 35 schools attending the day.

Year four teacher, Clare Smith, said the ability to get hands-on with the various activities was a great way to educate children.

“It’s an eye opener for a lot of them. Some don’t consider where their food comes from. With children, I think practical is best as they learn with hands-on activities. You can show them a video and read books, but until they’re up close, some don’t get the hang of it,” she said.

Ten Devon County Council tenant farmers also took the opportunity to explain to children all the work that goes into producing the food on their plates.

In the Poultry Zone, quail and duck farmers Marcus and Liz Warner from Henland Farm near Cullompton, helped explain how eggs and chickens are produced.

The children were able to see live ducks and turkeys, watch chicks hatching in an incubator and learn about egg grading.

Marcus said the event was a chance to link children with the countryside. “If you can educate children about where their food comes from, that can only be a good thing. They’re the future consumer,” he explained.

It was the first year at the event for new tenant farmers, James and Laura Baker from New Ford Farm, Marsh Green near Exeter. They brought along six milking cows from their 110 cow dairy herd to help show where milk comes from as part of a number of milking demonstrations in the Dairy Zone.

James commented: “The big thing that struck the children was the temperature of the milk – they presume it comes out cold.”

Laura said the event created a great chance to showcase the farming industry to youngsters.

“It’s important for children to recognise that farming is a big industry and a potential career for them. It’s about promoting a good image of the industry. Most of us are very hard working and love the animals, and that’s hopefully what they’ll see,” she explained.

Julie Edwards from main event sponsors, Mole Valley Farmers, said Farmwise Devon creates a great opportunity for farmers to communicate positive messages to children.

She added: “We have seen the popularity of the event grow year on year and it’s testament to the hard work of the farmers involved and staff at Devon County Council that so many schools want to participate.

“It’s important for children to understand where their food comes from. Farmwise is a chance to talk to future consumers, maybe dispel some myths and explain how food is produced,” she said.

The event is run by Devon County Council and sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers, together with Devon Norse, Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust, The Devon Farmers Benevolent Fund, NPS SW and Hele’s Educational Trust. The day is also supported by the Devon County Agricultural Association, Bicton College, and Devon Young Farmers Club.

Councillor Caroline Chugg

Chairman of Devon County Council’s Farms Estate, Cllr Caroline Chugg, said: “It’s been a really wonderful day and great to see all the children enjoying themselves so enthusiastically.

“I’m also really proud of our Farms Estate farmers, many of who are here today. Devon is one of a few counties to maintain a farms estate, giving young farmers an opportunity that they might not otherwise have to get a rung up the ladder. With events like this we’re reaching out and inspiring the next generation, and some of them might be our future farmers!”

To find out more about Farmwise Devon visit the Farmwise Devon website.

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