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Food and farming education takes centre stage at the Royal Cornwall

Fifteen hundred primary school children experienced an interactive day learning about farming and food production at the Farm & Country Days held within the Exhibition Halls at the Royal Cornwall Events Centre, Wadebridge.

The event, which is in its sixth year and jointly organised by the Cornwall Food & Farming Group (CFFG) and the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association (RCAA), has become a real hit with Cornish schools.

Pupils came from 36 schools from across the county, aged between seven and nine years, and met more than 200 farmers, food producers and representatives from businesses and organisations related to the agricultural industry who created a wide range of exhibits to bring the journey food takes from field to fork alive.

The children enjoyed making and tasting food, created from locally grown and reared produce. They met beef and dairy cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and a selection of poultry and visited the RCAA’s on-site milking parlour.

An investigation of the wildlife that lives in a typical Cornish hedgerow was undertaken, the importance of soil for growing arable and vegetable crops were covered. Seeds, grain and bees – both the bumble and honey varieties – were subjects explored.

Tom Whipps, Head of School at Polruan Primary Academy said:
“They (the pupils) were all fascinated by the animals and machinery and were all spotting ploughs, wrapped bales and other working things on the way home. They all gained a great insight into where their food comes from and are really looking forward to ordering their potato growing kit and eating our cabbages when they are ready.”

Geoff Smith, Head teacher at Kehelland Village School near Camborne said:
“The Royal Cornwall Farm & Country Days are a not to be missed opportunity for Cornish children to experience the rich and diverse culture of farming in our County. There’s something to engage every interest including a chance to sample delicious produce, marvel at gigantic tractors, and of course ample opportunities to pet and stroke a wide range of farm animals.
“Most importantly we all left with an understanding of the vital importance of farming to our economy and way of life!”

Claudine Jones, year 3/4 teacher from Ladock C of E Primary School near Truro said:
“A fabulous event, organised with the child’s curiosity at the forefront. A real hands on experience from holding chicks to cracking eggs to make eggy bread. Our children were enthused, captivated and engaged throughout the day.
“Our children were provided with plenty of opportunities to challenge themselves, not only with their knowledge, but with their confidence in trying new things from understanding the role of the bumble bee in pollination to stroking animals.”

Education coordinator at the RCAA, Emma Parkyn, said:
“Our patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, recently expressed his concern over the lack of knowledge among young people of where their food comes from, a problem which the Farm & Country Days are designed to tackle.
“It’s pleasing to see the many myths and misconceptions about farming and food production being challenged, with these important messages being delivered to pupils and teachers directly by local farmers and food producers.
“We thank all of the numerous volunteers, businesses and organisations who give up their time and event sponsors to make this event happen each year and facilitate a beneficial experience.”