Teaching children about good food – Farmwise celebrates 25,000th pupil

Posted on: 31 October 2018

Primary school children have flocked to Westpoint to discover the best of Devon farms’ produce.

This year’s annual Farmwise event, organised by Devon County Council, drew around 1,500 children from across the county.

This, the sixth year for the event, gave a warm welcome to 7 year old Riley Chidgey from Willand School, near Cullompton, who is the 25,000th child to enjoy the Farmwise experience.

Riley Chidgey, Willand School, is the 25,000th pupil to experience Farmwise Devon. Pictured with James Clack, NPS.

Riley and class friends joined children from 35 schools to roll their sleeves up and see farm animals, including lambs, piglets, newly hatched chicks, cows, goats and more, up close.

They made fresh fruit smoothies, and turned milk into butter.  They saw cows being milked, and how wheat is milled and oil pressed.

They learned about composting and most importantly, where good food comes from.

“It’s education, but it’s fun education,” said Deborah Custance Baker, the Chair of Farmwise.

Split into 12 zones – dairy, fruit, vegetables and more – the knowledge and expertise is delivered by Devon County Council tenant farmers and partner agencies.

“We give the children lots of opportunities to get hands on with the activities, and to see things up close that they wouldn’t usually get chance to see,” says Deborah.

“At the end of the day, we would like children to think a bit about the food they eat, and where it comes from.  It’s the journey, from field to fork.”

Council Leader John Hart with pupils from Rydon Primary School

Councillor Richard Edgell, the Chairman of the Council’s Farms Estate Committee, said:

“It is great fun, but it’s also important for children to have the chance to see, touch and smell the things that our farmers are producing.

“We want to educate, but we also want to inspire children to learn more and take an interest in where the food they see on their shelves at home, or in the shops and markets, comes from.

“We do this twice a year, here at our main event and also in April at the Devon County Show.   But some of our tenant farms also encourage school visits during the year to give children a chance to see for real the work that they do.

“We would like to thank everyone involved, and especially the teachers, teaching assistants and the children for being splendid guests.”

Sponsors for this year’s Farmwise were: Devon County Council, Mole Valley Farmers, Devon County Agricultural Association, NPS South West Ltd, Dartington Cattle Breeders Association, Devon Farmers Benevolent Fund, HELE’s Educational Trust & Devon Norse.

Other organisations involved with this year’s include: Bicton College, Exeter College, Devon YFC, Babcock, Food For Life, NFU, Costal Waste, Met Office, Kenniford Farm Shop, Teign Trees, RSPB, Bragg Contracting, Devon Waste Management, Crediton Dairy, Vale Veterinary, Devon Bee Keepers Association, Total Produce, Sanford Orchards, Langage Farm, Dartmoor National Park, Exmoor National Park, Stover Country Park, DCC Grand Western Canal, Barn Owl Trust, Teignbridge DCC Rangers, Devon Wildlife Trust, Lloyd Maunder Butchers, FeedCo, Credition Milling, Good Game Devon, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association, Row for the Ocean, Stuart Partners, Devon Felt Makers, The Whale Workshop, Westcliff Farm.

County Farm Estate Tenants: Robin Bowditch, James Baker, Aaron Finucane, Chris McWhirter, Liz and Marcus Warner, James and Naomi Law, David and Michelle Wootton, David Bragg, Barney and Marie Butterfield.

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