Suffolk Schools urged to take part in farm education activities

Suffolk Agricultural Association's school gardens competition Picture: Suffolk Agricultural Associat

Suffolk Agricultural Association's school gardens competition Picture: Suffolk Agricultural Association - Credit: Archant

Suffolk schools are being urged to get their applications in for a range of farming-related educational initiatives run by the charity behind the Suffolk Show.

Pupils from St Mary’s School, Woodbridge, collected the Gold Award in the School Show Garden Competi

Pupils from St Marys School, Woodbridge, collected the Gold Award in the School Show Garden Competition 2018 Picture: SUFFOLK AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION - Credit: Archant

Applications to take part in Suffolk Agricultural Association’s (SAA) 2019 education programme must be in by Friday, December 14.

The SAA organises a year-long programme of educational events and activities which promote the importance of food, farming and the countryside, with thousands of schoolchildren across the county taking part.

Suffolk Show Garden competition

Pupils from Years 1 to 6 can enter the annual School Show Garden competition, which this year is themed around Gardens of the World. Each school designs a 3x3m garden which is then built at Trinity Park, Ipswich, and displayed at the Suffolk Show, when the winner is announced.

Suffolk Farming School of the Year

Suffolk Farming School of the Year competition involves Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 pupils making a model of a cow from recyclable materials. The top five schools will be invited to attend a learning day at Trinity Park, before delivering a fun and engaging presentation about what they have learnt throughout the competition at the Suffolk Show.

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School Farm and Country Fair

One of the year highlights is the annual School Farm and Country Fair held in April. Trinity Park hosts pupils from around the county to enjoy a fun-packed day of learning about a range of topics including food, farming and conservation which are linked to the National Curriculum.

Tractors in Schools

Other events include the Tractors in Schools programme, which involves farmers visiting local schools with their tractor to talk with Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils in a fun and interactive way. There is also the popular Grow Your Own Potatoes project which encourages pupils to learn how to plant, grow and harvest different potato varieties. Schools attend a planting day at Trinity Park in March and then return in June to harvest and cook the potatoes. The deadline for taking part in this is slightly later - January 25.

SAA education project lead Helen Fomenko said: “It is incredible to see how many primary school children engage with the competitions and projects to develop their understanding in a fun and interactive way. As a charity, we want to ensure that our education programmes make food and farming relevant in today’s modern world and that children can see how important it is to their everyday lives.”

Farm Apprentice of the Year

The SAA also runs the Apprenticeship of the Year competition which is open to apprentices with a Suffolk employer who are currently studying for an agriculturally related apprenticeship such as Arable, Livestock, Production Horticulture, Agricultural Engineering and Game and Wildlife Management. The competition aims to highlight the vast range of career opportunities within the agriculture sector.

SAA chief executive Phillip Ainsworth said: “The Suffolk Show is one of the most popular events on the Suffolk calendar but many of our visitors aren’t aware of the charitable work we do throughout the year. Our education programmes provide a fantastic opportunity for interactive learning as well as supporting agricultural careers for the next generation of farmers.”