THE NFU has said the industry must do all it can to teach youngsters about where their food comes from after 84% of five to eight-year-olds said they would love to visit a farm.
Figures from the survey were revealed as part of British Nutrition Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week, which will also see the NFU hosting a live webinar on Thursday (June 5) which all 4,400 of the schools signed up for the campaign can tune into to learn more about farming.
It will feature Warwickshire farmer Henry Lucas who will talk about his work; and who is the star of the NFU’s latest video, which will be launched on Thursday.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “We are proud to be supporters of Healthy Eating Week and we are thrilled that so many youngsters have said they do want to know more about where their food comes from and they would like to get down on to farm.
“Farming is already well-received by the public, and popular with children, you only have to look at times when we open our doors to the public through various events like Open Farm Sunday. But the industry is in a great position to be able to do more to fulfil this need. By connecting with Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) throughout the week and beyond, pupils and teachers will be able to understand the work that goes into producing top quality food from this country. Our farmers welcome the opportunity to open their farm gates and celebrate what's great about great British farming.”
Roy Ballam, BNF education programme manager, said: “The results from our survey show some misconceptions about food origins. We believe that knowing about your food - how it’s grown, reared and processed - is an important element of children’s food education. Therefore it is encouraging that the children surveyed told us that they would like to visit a farm – 81 per cent of primary children and 50 per cent of secondary pupils. The survey also showed that all children learn about food and farming at school, more than anywhere else, and a fifth of secondary pupils want to know more about where their food is from. However, approximately a fifth of all children haven’t had any experiences of growing food.
“Overall, the research supports the real need for food and farming education in schools. Healthy Eating Week provides a platform to connect everything together – from food origins, through to cooking and applying healthy eating. Working in collaboration with a range of organisations, including the NFU, helps to further connect children with food – now and in the future.”