Hundreds of Key Stage Two schoolchildren from across Devon had the opportunity to experience ‘everything agriculture’ this week, as Farmwise returned for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, which was held at Westpoint near Exeter, saw more than 1,000 children roll up their sleeves and get stuck into a range of activities to learn first-hand where food comes from and how it is produced.
The arena was split into 12 sectors, each focusing on a different aspect of farming, including vegetables, fruit, arable, forestry, environmental, and wildlife, as well as dairy, sheep, poultry, beef, and pigs.
We are one of the main organisers for the show, with sponsorship from a range of partner organisations, and strongly supported by our tenant farmers, with many attending to demonstrate and to talk to the children.
Children had the chance to make sausages and pizzas, turn cream into butter, press apples for juice to drink, create oil from grain and even mill grain.
They also learnt how our fruit is produced and how to reduce our carbon footprint by buying local and in season produce in the Fruit Zone, managed by the NFU.
In the Devon YFC Arable Zone, complete with big shiny farming machinery including a Combine Harvester, they learnt the process of crop production in Devon and how crops are then turned into food we eat.
They got up close tto the livestock courtesy of the Devon County Farm Estates Tenants, including a Ruby Red cow and her calf, a large Black Pig, and her piglets as well as sheep and goats as they learnt about the importance of good animal husbandry.
And in the Forestry Zone the children learnt about the importance of trees to the environment. They were invited to plant acorns in sustainable newspaper pots that they made themselves and they took them back to school to watch them germinate before its time to plant them.
Farm Wise Devon chairwoman Deborah Custance Baker said:
“It really teaches children all about food and farming, and the importance of it as well.
“So many of them take for granted their food comes from a shelf in a supermarket … but today really instructs them that anything they see in the field can actually end up on their plate.”
Councillor John Hart, Devon County Council’s Leader, said:
“I want to thank all the Devon County Council volunteers, particularly our tenant farmers on our Farms Estate, who helped make the day such a success by volunteering their time and taking time to talk to children about what they do, so they understand where food comes from, and by doing so hopefully inspire the next generation of potential farmers.
“Events over the last year show why we should never take the food we produce for granted; and how we look after the environment, and events in other countries can impact on all of us.
“Agriculture is such a vital part of Devon’s economy and Farmwise gives children an opportunity to see for themselves how food is produced and what it looks like before it gets on supermarket shelves.”