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Fun farm day teaches Essex schoolchildren where food comes from

PUBLISHED: 16:56 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 06 June 2018

Essex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Essex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

Paul Starr/Writtle University College

Thousands of Essex schoolchildren enjoyed a glorious, sun-soaked day of fun at a farmer-run event.

Essex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGEEssex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

The eleventh Essex Schools Food and Farming Day, hosted by Writtle University College near Chelmsford, and supported by Essex County Council, brought together more than 3,000 youngsters from Years 4, 5 and 6 to learn more about food and agriculture.

The event, on Wednesday, June 6, was organised by Essex Agricultural Society and the aim was to help children understand more about where their food comes from - as well as opening them up to the possibility of a future career in the industry.

Organising committee chair Rosemary Padfield said: “It’s a wonderful day out there and the reason we do this is really as a farming society we feel it’s important that the children and their teachers have an idea what we do as farmers, why we care for the countryside and why we do what we do.”

Around 150 farmer stewards and others help put on the event and show children what a farm does and how it operates, showing them whole food cycle, from sowing the seed to the plants growing, and the end use in food production.

Essex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGEEssex Schools Food and Farming Day 2018, hosted by Writtle University College and organised by Essex Agricultural Society Picture: PAUL STARR/WRITTLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

The show area is divided into five zones – Machinery, Crops, Livestock, Countryside & Environment and Food – with a host of exhibitors inspiring pupils with displays, demonstrations and interactive activities.

They got to see tractors in action, with farmers explaining how they plant their crops then feed and care for them as they grow.

This year’s event was the first for Writtle University College’s new vice-chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, as the institution celebrates its 125th year. “We were delighted to host over 3,000 primary schoolchildren at the Essex Schools Food and Farming Day,” he said.

“Staff and students worked with hundreds of farm and food business volunteers to provide a day that showcased the rich variety of work that goes on across the county and helped children understand the journey from farm to fork.”

Councillor John Jowers, chairman of Essex County Council, said the event was “just brilliant”. “We forget that Essex is 72% rural - all the money goes into the urban centres,” he said. “We have lost that connectivity with the country.”

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