Guest blog: LEAF Education (East)

Inspiring young people about food, farming, and the natural environment
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A guest blog from LEAF Education Regional Education Consultant (East of England and London) Fiona Rust

At LEAF Education we know young people want to know more about food, farming, and the natural environment, and we work to educate, inspire, and motivate them through farm visits and school workshops. Throughout 2022, we delivered on-farm and in-class bespoke sessions to 35,610 young people.

Farm visits are a vital part of our work. LEAF Education creates opportunities for young people to get onto working farms, to experience first hand what food production in the UK looks like and where our food comes from. Famers sharing their passion and knowledge is such a powerful learning experience, providing the facts and the reality of British farming. Young people benefit in so many ways from farm visits, not just for the knowledge they receive, but the experiences to explore, engage and connect with the natural world around them which they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

This term, a group of 16-year-old students studying Environmental Sciences visited a fruit farm in Essex. The tractor tour and strawberry picking were the highlights of the day for the students in addition to learning about the importance of soil and hedgerows.

LEAF Education also supports farmers with wider professional development. In 2022, we have worked with 485 farmers through further accredited training and professional development to deliver high quality, safe, educational farm visits, including the industry recognised CEVAS (Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme). This course provides farmers with practical information and ideas on hosting farm visits, as well as the safety considerations needed when opening your farm for educational visits. This not only supports school visits but all types of farm visits including benefitting farmers who take part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday – the farming industry’s annual open day in June (11th June 2023).

In addition to collaborating directly with farmers, LEAF Education also goes into schools to deliver workshops and assemblies. This includes raising young people’s aspirations and highlighting the diverse range of career opportunities within the agricultural industry that otherwise young people may not be aware of. Our continued support of Farmer Time enables over 30,000 young people to engage virtually with a farmer through an ongoing connection direct to their classroom.

We could not do what we do without the tremendous support of farmers who open their farms to young people, and our sponsors who support our work to deliver experiential learning opportunities that encourage more conscious consumers of the future who appreciate how their food is produced. Every farm provides endless learning opportunities; we can bring the education expertise to support farmers share their knowledge of farming.

If you would like to explore the learning opportunities your farm could offer, please do reach out to find out how we can support you.

Fiona Rust | LEAF Education Regional Education Consultant – East of England and London |