More than 3,000 primary schoolchildren from across Essex visited Writtle College to find out more about where their food comes from.
Writtle College - in conjunction with Essex Agricultural Society and Essex County Council - hosted the innovative event on 6 June to help children learn more about food, farming and the countryside.
From tractors to sausage-making, bread-tasting to turkey-rearing, the event featured zones where the children could discover more about how food is produced from field to fork, take part in activities and watch demonstrations.
The aim of the fun and educational event is to bring children ‘out of the classroom’ and give them a better understanding of the food chain and the role played by farmers in Essex, as well as raising awareness of the countryside, environmental issues and healthy eating.
Robert Butterworth, a teacher at St Anne’s Preparatory School in Chelmsford, said: “The children have had a great time. The variety of things they have been able to do and the hands on nature of the day is great. It links in with a number of areas, such as science and geography. It’s nice for the children to see the real world rather than the classroom.”
Jordan Moss, nine, from Holland Park Primary School in Clacton, said: “I really liked the stand about the bees. It’s really interesting how they collect the pollen and how they produce wax from under their tummies.”
Guy Smith, Essex farmer and chairman of the event’s steering group, said: “The most encouraging thing about being involved in putting this day together is the fact so many schools want to come to the event - within weeks of us announcing the event in the autumn we are over-subscribed. As a farmer I think it’s great that I work in an industry where schools and schoolchildren have such an appetite to learn more about what I do. Not many other industries are so lucky."
The event involved 300 farmers and Writtle College staff with 500 teachers and assistants visiting with the schoolchildren.
Writtle College Principal Dr Stephen Waite said the day was an important way of inspiring young children: “You are never too young to learn about and enjoy the countryside and we hope the day has inspired children to find out more about food and farming – maybe they will become the rural leaders of the future!”
Councillor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “We are delighted to be a part of such an event. The Essex Food and Farming Day not only gives young people a first-hand opportunity to see how agriculture shapes the countryside, but also about where their food comes from and about the importance of the rural countryside for the Essex economy and healthy lifestyles.”