Pupils get a taste of rural life

PRIMARY school children from across Suffolk were given a taste of rural life yesterday at an event hosted by farmers.The Suffolk Agricultural Association's School Farm & Country Fair, now in its eighth year, was held at Ipswich's Trinity Park.

PRIMARY school children from across Suffolk were given a taste of rural life yesterday at an event hosted by farmers.

The Suffolk Agricultural Association's School Farm & Country Fair, now in its eighth year, was held at Ipswich's Trinity Park.

It brought 3,500 children aged seven to nine into direct contact with life on the farm, with a range of activities involving plants, animals and food. Each party was guided by one of 148 volunteer stewards, many from the farming community.

The event, created in Suffolk in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak which resulted in the cancellation of the Suffolk Show in 2001, has provided a blueprint for similar events in other parts of the country. Kent has started its own schools fair, and Essex is hosting its own version on May 1 at Writtle College, Chelmsford.


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“We are very proud of this event,” said Suffolk Agricultural Association executive director Chris Bushby. “We wanted people to know about what was on their doorstep, what Suffolk was about.”

Around 50 or 60 exhibitors took part in the event, demonstrating everything from beehives to sheep shearing to pressing rapeseed to make oil. Children were given the opportunity to hold chicks and ducklings and play games including a food miles challenge, showing how far each food product in a standard shopping basket has travelled.

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Alison Millin, a teacher from Gusford School in Ipswich, praised the event, which she said linked in well with the food and farming topic the children were studying this year.

“I think it's a fantastic day. I'm always very impressed with how much they put on in the course of the day and how much there is to see and how helpful and well organised it is,” she said. “It gives us a good reference for what we are doing.”

The event was sponsored by Chadacre Agricultural Trust, Waitrose Education and the Felix Cobbold Trust.

n For further picture coverage of the School Farm & Country Fair, see the County Life section of the EADT on Saturday, April 26.

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