For their work in helping educate students about farming and where their food comes from, nine British farms and farming organisations have been named finalists for an award from charity LEAF Education and Bayer Crop Science.
The award, which will be presented at a prestigious event in November, recognises those who provide opportunities for young people to visit farms and learn more about food, farming and the natural world, in a safe environment … as well as further discuss potential career paths for students in a technologically advancing industry.
“There has never been a more important time to host these awards celebrating the value that farmers bring to society through education initiatives,” says Michael Muncey, Head of Business for Bayer Crop Science in the UK. “UK farming is an exciting place to be in, and we are delighted to be once again recognising those people going out of their way to share their passion for why farming is such an important profession.”
There are three categories and three finalists each this year for the Bayer-LEAF Education Awards, including the:
Primary Education Award that honours a farm that has built a relationship with primary schools (5-11 year olds) and makes a valuable and sustained contribution to school life, both on and away from the farm. Matthew Hawthorne, Euston Farm, Thetford, Suffolk; Emma Loder-Symonds, Nonington Farms, Goodnestone, Canterbury, Kent; and John Plumb, Soutfields Farm, Coleshill, West Midlands are those who have been shortlisted.
Secondary Education Award that recognises a farms business that has gone above and beyond to forge a relationship with one or more secondary schools (11-18 years old), particularly engaging students in “igniting interest in the natural world.” Stuart Yarwood, Cheshire Agricultural Society, Knutsford, Cheshire; Donna Ashlee, Brockhill Farm, Saltwood, Hythe, Kent; and Jenna Cains, Wildnerness Project, Chatham Green, Chelmsford, Essex, are among the finalists.
Innovative Learning Award that honours a farm, agricultural business or organisation that works with schools in creating interest in current farming practices and modern sustainable farming on raising awareness of on-farm innovation. Philip Pearson, APS Produce, Chichester, West Sussex; Alison Pye, Old Holly Farm, Garstang, Preston, Lancashire; and Marianne and Alistair Hodge, Whitsome Farm, Duns, Berwickshire are on the shortlist.
“The standard of entries this year has been fantastic”, said Carl Edwards, Director of LEAF Education. “There were so many great examples of innovative practices making a real difference to the education young people receive about food and farming, but in the end, we have chosen nine exceptional farms and organisations to go through to the next stage of judging.”
Leading the judging process, Janet Hickinbottom MBE, National Education Officer at LEAF Education, says, “We have a strong tradition of working together to celebrate the tremendous work carried out by unsung heroes who do so much to share their knowledge and enthusiasm about the countryside with young people. The process is not an easy one, but the outcome is always exhilarating as we uncover what goes on during these inspiring collaborations between schools and farms.”