Ray and Jayne Brabban, winners of BBC Two’s series A Farmers Life For Me, will be attending the forthcoming Essex Schools Food and Farming Day at Writtle College on Thursday 26 May.
The duo, who are attending as exhibitors with Suffolk based Jimmy’s Farm, spoke keenly about the value of the day: “We both feel it’s important that young people are aware of where their food comes from and about the goodness and value to the country to eat British and locally sourced food. Not only for their health and well-being but also for the economic value this would have for us as a nation. They are the future generation and have the potential to lead change. There is so much lovely seasonal produce out there and helping to show young people is vital for changes in our society on all levels.”
The forthcoming schools food and farming day is the fourth annual event. Writtle College, working in conjunction with Essex Agricultural Society and Essex County Council, will play host to the innovative county event to help children gain knowledge about the journey of their food from field to fork and raise awareness of the countryside around them.
3,000 primary schoolchildren and 500 teachers and assistants from all over Essex will be attending the day. The aim of the fun and educational event is to give children a better understanding of the food chain and the role played by farming in Essex, as well as raising awareness of countryside and environmental issues.
The event will be split into a trail around five zones - machinery, crops, livestock, food and countryside, and environment - each of which encompass a key element of the food and farming story. Exhibits, provided by local and regional organisations, will feature hands-on activities including milling wheat and butter making, cookery demonstrations using local produce, fruit and vegetable identification and tasting, and willow weaving activities, insect and bird recognition games, livestock displays, milking demonstrations and farm machinery demonstrations.
Two hundred farmer stewards have been recruited to guide each group through the various activities, giving pupils direct contact with members of the local food and farming community.
Guy Smith, Essex Farmer and chairman of the event steering group, commented on the forthcoming event: “Essex is important to farming and farming is important to Essex. Essex school children are our future consumers and future countryside users. It is important to explain to young students how and why we, as farmers, go about looking after the Essex countryside so that it is productive, bio-diverse and beautiful.
“It is particularly rewarding that when the Essex Agricultural Society, in partnership with Writtle College and Essex County Council, put on an event like the Essex Schools Food and Farming Day we get such a brilliant response from the schools. As farmers we are very proud that non-farmers take such an interest in what we do and want to know more."
County Councillor Peter Martin, Leader of Essex County Council, went on to say: “Essex is an important agricultural county, employing thousands and feeding millions, so it is important that we show children how to understand and preserve this landscape. The Food and Farming Day gives youngsters the opportunity to see first hand how agriculture shapes the countryside, providing us with access to open spaces and recreational activities, which helps us to enjoy healthier lifestyles.”
Reporters and photographers must register to attend this event by 5pm on Monday 23 May. For more information, to request photographs or to register, please call Emily Patel, Writtle College on 01245 424276.