YoGA helps children discover food, farming and the countryside
If a field margin is the least productive part of a field, does that make it wasteland? Children from one school in the North East pondered this question as part of a hands-on farm visit with us.
The class of 30 primary school children from Bishop Ian Ramsey School, in County Durham, learned that in fact encouraging wild areas around the edges of farms creates diverse wildlife havens and encourages pollinators beneficial to crops. They went away with a plan to create their own field margins at school.
The children spent the day at Wheelbirks Dairy Farm, in Northumberland, and it was one of ten Country Trust farm visits funded by Defra with the support of Natural England as part of a new government initiative called the Year of Green Action. Ten million pounds has been allocated to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds better access the natural environment. Grants such as this one have been awarded to projects that will create greener school grounds and increase the number of school visits to local parks, wildlife sites, farms and National Parks.
As part of the day children met the dairy herd, investigated habitats and looked inside molehills. They found out about the story of milk and taste-tested the farm’s own ice cream. At the end of the visit, children took away their own peas and beans to grow at school along with wildflower seeds to create their own school field margins.
Farmer Tom Richardson said: “Responsible farmers understand that you can’t just take from the land, you have to put something back in. I think it is so important that children understand what it takes to make the food they eat and where it comes from, and the consequences of those choices.”
Teacher Danielle Copestick said: “Many children have limited experience of the countryside and have not been to a farm before. The visit has inspired incredible questions and curiosity and gives us so much material to use back in class.”
The Country Trust provides free visits to farms across England and North Wales along with year-long food and growing programmes and residential visits. To find out more visit www.countrytrust.org.uk