PUPILS from secondary schools across Hampshire were inspired by farming as they got stuck in at a working farm.

Hampshire’s first #FarmMyFood day was held on June 30.

It had been organised by LEAF in partnership with Hampshire Fare, the county food group, and Wheatsheaf Farming.

Cllr Roz Chadd, deputy leader and executive lead member for children’s services at Hampshire County Council, opened the day.

Hampshire Chronicle: Farm Manager David Miller of Wheatsheaf Farming with one of the winning teams - Farm my Food 2022, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

She said: “Today is an inspirational way to learn about the rural environment that surrounds us, how our food is produced, where our food comes from, and the importance of agriculture.

"Getting back to the soil, back to the land, back to the heritage, even if for just a day, can get the conversation going around how the land provides the food on our table, and we hope today instils an awareness and curiosity about the farming process."

More than 150 students attended from secondary schools across the region including: Testbourne Community School in Whitchurch, John Hanson Community School, Andover; The Costello School, Basingstoke; and Langtree School, near Reading.

Tracy Nash, commercial manager at Hampshire Fare, said: “It was so exciting to see the students enjoying the day, it makes all the planning worthwhile. Days like this are needed to help the next generation understand the food and farming industries. They toured the farm, learned about business and nutrition, and tasted products they hadn’t tried before such as Laverstoke Buffalo Mozzarella.”

The #FarmMyFood day was hosted by Wheatsheaf Farming, Sustainable Farming Award Winner 2022, at Folly Farm, North Waltham.

Kate Baylis of Wheatsheaf Farming, who was also a food technology teacher for over 20 years, said: “The best way to teach children is to bring them out and show them. We regularly have primary school pupils visit us, but this is the first time we’ve hosted secondary school pupils.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Pupils from John Hanson School at Farm my Food 202, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

Samantha Plunkett, food preparation and nutrition teacher at Testbourne Community School, said: “So much effort was put into the day. It was lovely to see how committed the organisers and producers are, and how excited and interested the students are. These are things our pupils are not normally exposed to as there are not that many opportunities to do field trips – this is quite exceptional.”

The day included tractor tours, a food hall of local produce and business hubs with topical discussions taking place.

Rory Mulholland, senior butcher at Owton’s Family Butchers, was impressed by the students’ interest.

Students also enjoyed the food preparation workshops given by Paul Dickinson, director of food at Fuller’s, who is the founder of Fullers’ Chefs’ Guild, which has a training kitchen at Laverstoke Park Farm.

Carl Edwards, director education & public engagement, LEAF, said: “ It is about challenging stereotypes and showing how farming involves skills such as data analysis, it is not just about growing crops to feed the nation."

Hampshire Chronicle: Nutritionist Lucy Williamson Farm my Food 2022, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

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