On-farm school conference brings students closer to their food

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Over 150 GCSE students gained first-hand experience of the agricultural industry as part of a new conference aimed at educating schoolchildren about food provenance and healthy eating.

The Secondary School Series – Farming Food for You event, organised by AHDB and LEAF Education, in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation, took place at Plumpton College, East Sussex, on Tuesday 14 November 2023.

Pupils enjoyed activities aligned to the curriculum, including a tour around the college’s dairy farm, which featured a robotic milking system, and a bakery workshop where they made their own breadsticks.

Around 15 local food producers and agri-linked businesses also attended so students could understand the wider impact of farming and scope of the industry.

Roz Reynolds, Head of Education at AHDB, said:

"It was fantastic to see so many young people experiencing a farm, many for the first time, and engaging with local food producers and farming businesses through hands-on activities.

"Much of our work focuses on supporting teachers with resources, so it’s been great to trial an interactive event focused on experiential learning for students themselves directly linked to the GCSE curriculum."

The conference was one of a series of education pilots that AHDB have been running this year to inspire the consumers of tomorrow by improving their understanding of where food comes from, as well as developing cooking skills.

Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF, said:

"We are delighted to have partnered with AHDB for the conference. It was an exciting event with the brilliant goal of educating young people about the agri-food industry, highlighting the many varied and exciting opportunities within the sector and allowing them to engage first-hand with many local businesses involved.

"We’re delighted with how the conference went and we are looking forward to seeing the impact following on from both pre- and post-event sessions with schools."

Anne Pithie, Marketing Manager at Plumpton College, added:

"We were absolutely thrilled to be able to host this event. Providing the opportunity for students to come and experience being on a working farm and learning about the business of food, in terms of nutrition and preparing food in our new training kitchen, is what the new AgriFood Centre was built for.

"It was fantastic to see how positively the students responded to the experience and we hope that it will inspire some to consider studying courses and look to develop careers in our important sector."

Other organisations involved with the event included: Court Lodge Organics, Nutfield Dairy, Offham Farm Shop, South Brockwells Farm, Shrub, Edge Tea & Coffee, Ashurst Organics, The Great British Charcuterie Co., Camilla and Roly, Sussex Young Farmers Clubs Federation, Trenchmore Farm, BASF, Crawfords, Slake Spirits, Seedleaves, The Sussex Peasant and Urban Growing Club.

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Image of staff member Roz Reynolds

Roz Reynolds

Head of Strategic Operations, Education and Nutrition

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