The Ernest Cook Trust is pleased to have been among the sponsors of the inaugural School Farms Network Education Alliance (SFNEA) conference, held recently at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.
The two-day event brought together outdoor learning practitioners, teachers and students from throughout the UK to network and share expertise in school-based farm learning.
Keynote speakers included Countryfile presenter and Cotswold Farm Park director Adam Henson, and Dan Corlett, Chief Executive of Farming and Countryside Education.
The conference explored rearing farm livestock in schools and the value of land-based education, including agriculture, business, technology, food security and the environment.
Currently there are more than 116 school farms in the UK. The conference heard that school farms help students become passionate about animals and farming practices, as well as helping them build confidence and improve their academic performance.
And a key message was how much we need bright young people for the future of agriculture and food production.
The School Farms Network Education Alliance is a partnership between the Royal Agriculture University, education specialist firm Applied Inspiration and the School Farms Network, with support from the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.
The conference included the inaugural SFNEA Gala Awards Dinner, which celebrated the very best of the UK’s school farms. The dinner was sponsored by ECT and attended by Chief Executive Dr Victoria Edwards, Head of Education Anne Newman, and Education Officers Liz MacKenzie and Sue Nixon-Lea (pictured with Adam Henson).
Dr Edwards said: “We were very proud to be part of this inaugural conference. It was a great networking opportunity, bringing together people from all over the country with a shared passion for farming and farm-based learning.
“This is something we are keen to support because we have so many shared values in helping children and young people to learn from the land.”