In its latest Impact Report, leading education charity LEAF Education has revealed the significant positive impact that Farmer Time is having on connecting young people with farming and food production. Farmer Time, launched in 2017, links farms to schools via digital channels and in the last academic year. The initiative matched 524 schools and farms, reaching nearly 16,000 children and almost doubling in numbers from the previous academic year.
The Farmer Time Impact Report 2020 revealed that:
• 524 schools and farms have been paired up to date
• 15,720 children of school age have been reached
• 100% of farmers have enjoyed the experience
• 71% of farmers have spoken to children about careers in farming
• 96% of farmers who participated will be continuing with Farmer Time next year
• 100% of teachers have enjoyed the experience, would recommend it to others and are continuing with it next year
• 96% of teachers believe the children gained a better understanding of the food supply chain
Carl Edwards, Director of Education and Public Engagement at LEAF Education, comments: “We are delighted to see the incredible impact Farmer Time is having on educating, inspiring and engaging children with farming, how their food is grown and where it comes from. It is fantastic to see that, despite the challenges schools faced during the summer term due to the impact of coronavirus, many of our Farmer Time school/farmer pairings continued to thrive – both with key workers’ children and those being homeschooled.
“During these last seven months, when opportunities to visit farms have been curtailed, providing opportunities for our young people to speak to a farmer directly, ask questions and see the realities of farm life, in a safe way, has never been more important.
“Farmer Time opens up new and exciting opportunities for farmers to reach out and connect even further, enabling children who may not normally get a chance to access the countryside to experience the sights and sounds of farming.
“We urge farmers and schools alike to participate in what has proven to be an enormously successful initiative. There has never been a more crucial time for us to engage and inspire future generations about the role farming plays in the food we eat.”
Farmer Time, which is sponsored by Sainsbury’s, Strutt & Parker and G’s Fresh, enables pupils to regularly chat live with their matched farmer from their classrooms through a video call platform, such as FaceTime or Skype. LEAF Education is continuing to develop Farmer Time in collaboration with founder, Tom Martin of Village Farms, Cambridgeshire to ensure it remains the success it is today.