HGCA farmer helps children learn about field to fork journey

HGCA’s Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker and Regional Manager Tim Isaac gave more than 4500 sch

HGCAs Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker and Regional Manager Tim Isaac gave more than 4500 school children the opportunity to learn about the journey of wheat from field to food. - Credit: Archant

HGCA’s Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker and regional manager Tim Isaac gave more than 4,500 school children the opportunity to learn about the journey of wheat from field to food.

HGCA’s Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker and Regional Manager Tim Isaac gave more than 4500 sch

HGCAs Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker and Regional Manager Tim Isaac gave more than 4500 school children the opportunity to learn about the journey of wheat from field to food. - Credit: Archant

On April 23, Brian and Tim joined the Suffolk School Farm and Country Fair at Trinity, Park, Ipswich, to educate primary schoolchildren about different grains, the milling process, flour and its uses.

Brian, who is also a committee member for the event, farms with his cousin Patrick at E J Barker & Sons, a family farm partnership and contracting business at Westhorpe, near Stowmarket.

The 667hectare arable business is farmed on 12 and nine-year rotations, incorporating winter wheat , spring barley, herbage grass seed, oilseed rape and a break crop of beans, linseed or peas.

Environmental consideration is crucial to the running of the business and remains a key factor in all decision-making on farm.


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“The Suffolk Agricultural Association hosts the School Farm and Country Fair and it is a tremendous day to be involved in, with 4,500 school children given a free day at Trinity Park to discover where their food comes from and what goes on in the countryside surrounding them,” said Brian.

“I have always been passionate about trying to inspire the next generation as these children will possibly one day be my agronomist, labourer, farm manager. If we can inspire some of them to choose our great industry then our volunteer exhibitors and stewards can feel very proud.”

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Brian and Tim showed children how to mill flour and answered their questions about how wheat makes the journey from the combine to bread on shelves, using resources from HGCA’s Grainchain.com.

Tim Isaac added: “It’s good to do this as part of the Monitor Farm programme, as it’s a great community project supported by local farmers. It’s important that we help children from an early age to think about and understand where their food comes from, encouraging positive change in the next generation. The Monitor Farm programme is about sharing experience to benefit the whole industry – who knows how many customers of the future we spoke to today.”

Alongside the other Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board divisions, HGCA offers a range of advice, information and free resources to help farmers get involved in education and help the next generation to understand food and farming.

HGCA’s flagship curriculum-linked education resource is Grainchain.com, designed to help teachers and parents inform school-aged children about the story of grain-based food from the farm to mill to plate. It is a collaboration of HGCA, Federation of Bakers and Flour Advisory Bureau.

HGCA’s Stowmarket Monitor Farm will hold its summer open day on Friday 19 June from 10am, with lunch included.

“The open day in June is a perfect opportunity for local farmers to come along and find out about the Monitor Farm programme and to get involved if they haven’t had the chance before,” said Tim.

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