Essex Schools Food and Farming Day celebrates 10th year next week

Children at last year's Essex Schools Food and Farming Day.

Children at last year's Essex Schools Food and Farming Day. - Credit: Writtle University College

Nearly 3,000 primary school children - and 64 scarecrows - are set to take part in a day celebrating Essex’s food and farming heritage.

The tenth Essex Schools Food and Farming Day, organised by Essex Agricultural Society event, hosted at Writtle University College near Chelmsford, and supported by Essex County Council, takes place on Wednesday, June 7.

To celebrate its 10-year milestone, each school taking part has been asked to make a scarecrow, which will be judged on the day. They have been encouraged to use recycled materials and accessories, and the winning creation will scoop prizes for their school garden.

The fun, educational and interactive event has gone from strength to strength in the last decade, giving Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils from across the county the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of farming, food production and the countryside.

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

The aim is to give schoolchildren – some of whom have never visited a farm before – the opportunity to see how the Essex countryside works and meet those people who are responsible for its management and sustainability.

They will be given the opportunity to explore the link between food and farming, meet animals close-up, and get involved in a range of activities, including pressing oils, milling grain and making smoothies.

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Representatives of the local farming community act as stewards for each school group and Writtle University College staff and students help run the event alongside Essex Agricultural Society volunteers.

Karen Watson, Essex Agricultural Society organiser and school liaison officer, said: “These children are our future consumers and countryside users, and it is important to explain to them how their food is produced, and, as farmers, how we look after the Essex countryside so that it is productive, bio-diverse and beautiful.”

Rosemary Padfield, chair of the event’s steering group, said the event aimed to help children to gain a greater understanding of how their food reaches the table.