A ground-breaking countryside event is celebrating 10 years of teaching children about farming, food and the environment.
The award-winning annual Glendale Agricultural Society (GAS) Children’s Countryside Day was one of the very first projects of its kind when it launched a decade ago.
Since then, more than 15,000 north east schoolchildren aged from five to nine have had a unique opportunity to find out where their food comes from and to discover more about rural life.
This year’s event on June 5 will involve 1,470 children from 40 schools in Northumberland and North Tyneside, with 65 exhibitors and 250 volunteers giving up their time so children can get a glimpse into country life.
The Children’s Countryside Day is free of charge to schools and GAS has raised nearly £175,000 from grants and private sponsorship over the last decade to keep it that way.
Ruth Oldfield, event manager, said: “We’ve been successful in bringing an awareness of farming into children’s daily lives, many of whom had no idea where their food came from before they attended.
“A lot has changed in 10 years. Farming practices have developed, with diversification now a playing a huge part in many agricultural businesses; severe flooding and winter storms have raised people’s awareness of the environment; and Jamie Oliver’s campaign for healthy school meals has brought the kinds of issues we’ve been teaching children about to a wider audience.
“We intend to keep leading from the front with this valuable and innovative day, which has proved to be a real highlight in the school year.”
This year’s event has the theme ‘Fun in the Field’. Children are being asked to design an environmentally friendly scarecrow and bring it with them to the showground at Wooler to be judged by TV favourite John Grundy.
This year’s event will feature a dairy tent for the first time, where children can learn about making butter, cheese and ice cream. They’ll also find out how to make bread to spread with their freshly-churned butter, using flour produced by local farmers.