Essex Schools Food & Farming Day 2018
On a beautiful June morning, 3,010 primary school students arrived at Writtle University College for the 11th annual Essex Schools Food & Farming Day, organised by Essex Agriculture Society and supported by Essex County Council.
The aim of the event is to educate the next generation about where their food comes from, along with giving them an insight into farming, the countryside and the industry in general. The children are able to take part in a fun, education and very hands-on day, where they can find out how the food they eat gets from the field to their plate.
Many children have no understanding of where their food actually comes from or how it is produced. When asked, most answer ‘the supermarket’. They do not think of the countryside as a place of food production or realise what they countryside can offer them by way of employment, leisure and sporting activities.
Almost 200 farmer stewards and others help put on the event and show children what a farm does and how it operates, showing them the whole food cycle, from sowing the seed to the plants growing, and the end use in food production.
Organising committee chair, Rosemary Padfield, said: “It’s a wonderful day out there and the reason we do this is really as a farming society we feel it’s important that the children and their teachers have an idea what we do as farmers, why we care for the countryside and why we do what we do.”
As well as the 3000+ children, the event was attended by a host of ‘VIPs’ who were delighted to see the event going from strength to strength. Eleven local food producers supplied a delicious lunch which showcased the diversity of food produced in the area and which was sponsored by RCCE. Nick Shuttleworth, RCCE’s Executive Director, said, “Essex Schools Food and Farming Day is a wonderful way of engaging children in farming and the countryside; showing them where their food comes from and how it is produced. RCCE is delighted to support it and we were really pleased in the interest shown in our own stand this year.”
Councillor John Jowers, Chairman of Essex County Council, said the event was “just brilliant”. “We forget that Essex is 72% rural - all the money goes into the urban centres,” he said. “We have lost that connectivity with the country.”