The shift towards digital education for children will provide a ‘massive opportunity’ for agriculture, as thousands of schools close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This has resulted in a move towards online learning, which has seen the Royal Cornwall Association (RCAA) launch a series of ’farming from home’ activities children can do as part of its Farm and Country education project.
While food producers are classed as key workers, which means children can still attend school, the Government has strongly advised they should be kept at home if possible.
Emma Parkyn, educational co-ordinator at RCAA, therefore said the activity sheets produced on topics such as livestock and dairy farming alongside core subjects online, provided an ’invaluable opportunity’ to educate children on the ‘vital’ work of the industry.
She said: “It is extremely important for children to have an understanding of where their food comes from, not enough children know this and therefore believe it simply comes from shops.
“This is even more important now, especially with farmers and food producers being listed as key workers, whereby the Government has noted their hard work and dedication.”
The project forms part of a wider drive to provide young people with a ‘real-time’ understanding of the issues farmers face every day.
Taking to Twitter, Cambridgeshire mixed farmer Tom Martin, claimed school closures meant initiatives such as #FarmerTime would now become ‘more important than ever’.
Coordinated by Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) organisation, the Farmer Time incentive organises free fortnightly video calls between farmers and classrooms to teach children about where their food comes from and how it relates to the wider curriculum.
Mr Martin urged the current situation served as a ‘massive chance’ for the sector to work on the way we access people remotely, saying: “Farming and education should be no exception.”
Ms Parkyn echoed this and highlighted the importance of accessibility at this time.
She added: “The guides have been designed with parents in mind, children can watch the video on livestock for example and then pick an activity from the livestock activity sheet.
“We wanted them to be easy for children to access and something that parents can use to support them within their new ‘teaching’ role.”