‘Cows On Tour’, which is made up of sixteen enthusiastic farmers from Glamorgan NFU Cymru and Glamorgan YFC, travelled to Pakeman Primary school in London yesterday (21 March) to tell the farming story to over 300 children.
Now in its second year, Cows On Tour, led by Abi Reader, Glamorgan NFU Cymru County Chairman, aims to educate children about food and farming and ultimately canvas support from the next generation of consumers.
Abi Reader said, “It’s so important that we engage with children from a young age and give them an insight into our industry, because after all, they are the next generation of consumers. It’s hard for me to imagine growing up in such a highly populated area, such as London, but for the children at Pakeman School, this is the norm and as a result, they don’t know how important this industry is in feeding the nation.
“During the day we concentrated on six key areas in our lesson plan; dairy, chickens, lamb, cereals, fruit and vegetables and meet the farmer and had the added excitement of the branded Massey Ferguson Red Tractor which visited the school for the day. Each workshop aimed to teach pupils exactly where their food comes from and what primary products are used in their well-loved brands. Some of our demonstrations included how to milk a cow, where their fruit and vegetables are grown, what wool is used for and how to make butter.
“This year we decided to include the parents and handed out Welsh cheese samples and milk to the parents as they picked up their children from school. This was a great success and the parents were really interested in what we had to say.”
Emma Bonnin, from Pakeman Primary School said, “It was very beneficial for our inner city children to have the countryside brought to their playground as they find it difficult to understand what it is really like. They loved the farming day and learnt so much about where their food comes from. They particularly enjoyed sitting in the Red Tractor which was parked up on the playground.”
Philippa Wiltshire, Red Tractor Assurance's Communications Manager, said, "Cows On Tour was a fantastic idea and shows that there is real interest from schools in where food comes from and how it is produced. We are keen to support other farmers in Wales who want to engage with the public and our new Red Tractor Assurance Marketing Tool Kit offers free materials to help them, including the free hire of our branded Massey Ferguson tractor."
Abi concluded, “I’d like to thank all those who helped contribute to the success of the day. Thank you also to NFU Cymru, South Caernarfon Creameries, Ty Tanglwyst Dairy, Country Fresh Eggs, Muller Milk and Ingredients, the British Wool Marketing Board, AHDB and Red Tractor for supporting the event and of course Pakeman Primary school for being so accommodating. Some of the children described it as the ‘best day ever’, which really did make our trip worthwhile. One comment in particular stuck in my mind, it came from a pupil who asked ‘are farmers magicians?’, this comment just goes to show that in their eyes, having learnt about our daily tasks, they believe that what we do is magic. In a way, I guess it is!”