Over one thousand five hundred school children enjoyed two interactive days learning about farming and food at the annual Farm & Country Days held at the Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge.
The pupils, aged between seven and nine years of age, came from 40 schools spread across the length and breadth of Cornwall. Over 300 farmers, growers, food producers and representatives from agricultural and food production related businesses created around 60 hands-on exhibits to bring the story food takes from farm to plate to life.
The children came face-to-face with dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. They also discovered how vets care for farm animals, visited a milking parlour to learn about milk production, crimped pasties under the guidance of Warrens Bakery and enjoyed tasting Callestick ice-cream.
They also discovered what lurks in Cornish hedgerows and with explored with Elsa and Rona Amis, who farm on the Lizard, the important role animal dung plays.
Jane Wheeler, year four teacher from Kea Community Primary School said the children thoroughly enjoyed the event, taking a huge amount away from it.
“The children were really buzzing with new knowledge and ideas when we got back to school. We would like every child in our school to benefit from this experience.”
Kate Cameron, year four teacher from Treverbyn School said:
“We had such a wonderful time today. On the coach journey back to school, the children were either totally buzzing, chattering non-stop about their day or fast asleep! Both testament to the brilliantly organised, varied and extremely interesting experience provided.”
These sentiments were echoed by Theresa Mills, head teacher at South Petherwin Primary School.
“So much work has gone in to the event but every single second of it was worthwhile. A really outstanding day.”
Jacky Cherry from the Cornwall Food & Farming Group said that whilst the event was great fun for all involved it also presents a gilt-edged opportunity to educate the next generation about how the industry works.
"The aim of the Farm & Country Days is to bridge the ever widening gap in the understanding of the care, attention and shear effort our farmers and food producers put into creating our food. Hopefully we’re helping to create better informed future customers and inspire more talent to become agriculturalists in the future.
RCAA Media & Education manager, Steven Michell said:
“This event wouldn’t be possible without the army of volunteers who kindly give up their time and expertise. Generous sponsorship from the Dartington Cattle Breeders Trust, Consols Oils, Stephens Scown, Truro Primestock Show, Harpers Feeds, NatWest, Cornwall Council, Mole Valley Farmers and the Cornish Winter Fair helped support schools with transport costs enabling them to access the event.”
Over the past four years more than 6000 pupils have attended the event and it is fully subscribed for 2018 and approaching capacity for 2019, such is the demand from local schools to immerse their pupils in the farming and food topic.