The event highlighted careers available in sustainable food production and regenerative agriculture and also, the local food career opportunities. In addition, students were able to gain a true insight into the "Farm to Fork" process, learning about growing and producing food before tasting the end products. This gave students an awareness and understanding on how empowered food choices can ensure they inherit a world that is growing, eating, and living sustainably.
The event was organised in collaboration with local farmers and food producers who brought interactive workshops showcasing the very best local produce made in the region. Each workshop gave students insight into the experience necessary to work in a certain field of the agrifood sector and also, the best ways for them to gain work experience and what qualifications they need going forward.
Introducing local products and agrifood businesses
Students rotated in their tutor groups to learn about the fantastic array of local food and careers available in the Cotswolds: local dairy, Gorsehill Abbey Farm, Lower Clopton Farm Shop, Merry May Honey, and LEAF Education. Within each workshop exhibitors talked about the careers, apprenticeships and other and opportunities available in the food production sector. The activities they presented were specifically linked to the food and nutrition curriculum such as promoting eating a healthy balanced diet with students learning about animal husbandry/meat production, dairy, fruit, vegetables, cereal, and bread products.
From grass to ice-cream
Local dairy, Gorsehill Abbey Farm talked about how cows produce milk from grass and other locally grown cereal crops, and how nutritious and versatile dairy is. In addition, pupils learnt about how farmer Jenny had diversified her business, setting up her own milk dispensing machine and luxury ice cream business to have a more environmentally positive impact direct from the farm gate to your plate within a few miles. With students tasting the organic milk samples and trying the ice-cream they became more aware of choices they have when purchasing dairy products.
Lower Clopton Farm Shop gave pupils a chance to understand all the roles required to run a busy mixed farm. From lambing in the spring, to picking your own summer fruits and autumn pumpkins, through to rearing turkeys for Christmas. This opened many discussions about the range of job roles and careers required on a farm and about the diverse skills and attributes the farmer and food producers have to possess to accomplish all these tasks. This discussion made participants realize how important the entrepreneurial mindset is when it comes to managing farms.
Pupils were buzzing to see the bees of beekeeper Martyn from Merry May Honey's observation hive. Children were amazed to learn that bees and other pollinators are responsible for one third of food produce consumed across the world! Children also had a scientific activity learning about pollination, how honey is made and its health benefits with samples available for children to try.
LEAF Education broadened students’ knowledge of careers in the agrifood industry delivering an interactive workshop utilising different types of resources and media, including EIT Food's A Day In The Life career videos, so that young people could learn about a wider range of careers, and also ask questions. LEAF Education also had another stand where pupils could learn all about quality assurance labels, discover what they all meant, and learnt how to become conscious consumers of the future. Children took part in a fun, interactive game matching up well-known supermarket products with quality assurance labels.
Key outcomes and feedback:
According to the survey conducted by LEAF Education, before the event only 29% of students were aware of or received education about careers in the agrifood industry. Following the success of the event, 73% of students said that they would consider a career in the agrifood industry. The survey also showed how important it is for students to meet with real-life examples and entrepreneurs from the agrifood industry.
Considering organizing an agrifood career day in your school? Here are some tips from the FoodEducators team!
- Prepare students using some of our agrifood career-related resources
- Invite local agrifood stakeholders - such as a beekeeper, farmer, eco-store manager, etc. For ideas, have a look at the A Day in The Life videos
- If you are out of ideas, contact your local municipality
- If possible, organise a visit to demonstrate the reality of agrifood careers
- To maximize impact, harvest insights from students afterwards
Photo credits: Laura Paterson, Macs Adventure, Merry May Honey