Video: Ickworth Park Primary School pupils praised for their winning garden design at Suffolk Show
The Suffolk Show this year expanded on its already extensive possibilities for educating children on the importance of agriculture and horticulture.
As well as the Farm Discovery Zone, the School Farm and Country Fair and Sports Village, primary school children were also involved in a garden design competition for the first time.
Ickworth Park Primary School won joint gold for their design but lost out on first place to rivals from Carlton Colville.
The teachers explained that gardening is part of the curriculum and that the school has an allotment.
Pupils Hettie Jones and Chloe Stephens explained that they created sheep for their vegetable garden and learnt basked weaving to create a rotuna, inspired by that at Ickworth House.
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John Wall, the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s president elect, who was influential in bringing the new contest to the show, said: “I think it’s a wonderful start for children to get green fingered, and to start understanding plants and food and where it all comes from.”
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Mr Wall said it was important to “sow the seeds” at a very young age about where food comes from and about the range of jobs that were available in agriculture.
The association’s president, Terry Hunt has this year launched the Tractor in Schools scheme for Year 4 and Year 5 pupils, to build closer links between young people and the industry, which Mr Wall said was a “wonderful initiative”.
Bruce Kerr, senior steward of the Farm Discovery Zone, where young people are given the opportunity to learn what farmers do, said it was essential for young people to learn the connection between food and farming.
He added: “There are a lot of people out there who do not get it, and it’s forging that link. It’s about engaging with the next generation of farmer.”
It is the second year that the show has allowed people under the age of 15 free entry, and Mr Kerr said the decision was made to embrace the educational element of the show even further.
“The best part for me is seeing smiles on the kids’ faces, and not only that, when they are dragging their parents around the show,” he said.