Classroom in the countryside set for Glendale
More than 1,600 North East children are about to learn that we all need to live off the land when they visit the Glendale Agricultural Society's annual Children's Countryside Day.
A survey conducted a year ago found that children’s knowledge of where food came from was woefully lacking – some even believed that cheese grew on trees, fish fingers came from chickens and tomatoes grew underground.
The survey, conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation in June 2017, revealed how many children had little idea of the source of many vegetables, with 13 per cent of 8-10-year-olds thinking that pasta came from an animal.
It is to counter these errors that the Society will be welcoming children from 40 schools from across the region, to the showground, near Wooler , next Thursday.
More than 60 companies will demonstrate how farmers and producers help put food on people’s plates, and the importance of the land to their day-to-day living.
Event organiser Rachael Tait, secretary of the Glendale Agricultural Society, is keen to point out it’s not all about food, farming, facts and figures.
“It is also about the industries that the countryside supports and its heritage,” she said. “We want them to see it’s a place to enjoy, and that it’s also about health and well-being.”
Known as the Classroom in the Countryside, the day is designed to be interactive, involving and personalised – giving all children the chance to meet farmers and producers, their products and animals, face-to-face.
Rachael said: “The Countryside Day is unique in the UK, giving something very big back to the children in the local community. We may be one of the smallest agricultural Societies in the UK, but we are one of the most proactive.”
Each year the event takes place because of the practical help and sponsorship provided by individuals, businesses and organisations connected with the countryside.
For the 40 schools who attend there is no cost as the CCD is self-funded through sponsorship and donations and it is only possible because of this support. One of the major supporters is the Country Land Owners Association (CLA) and Deputy President, Mark Bridgeman, explains: “The Glendale Agricultural Society’s Children’s Countryside Day is a truly remarkable initiative having attracted more than 25,000 children from Northumberland and Tyneside since its inception more than a decade ago.
“For many children in the region, a visit to the Countryside Day is often their first experience of rural life and an important way to connect the working countryside with the food on their plate.
“Creating awareness through ‘hands-on’ activities on the day is an excellent way to engage and educate the young. The CLA’s Charitable Trust is supporting the initiative this year, particularly since it is run by volunteers to benefit the wider community in the North East – it makes a priceless contribution to future generations’ understanding of the countryside.”
This year’s sponsors and supporters include:
Carr-Ellison Charitable Trust
Coastal Grains Limited
The Godman Charitable Company
Etal Manor Riding School
The Joicey Trust
Mr & Mrs McKie Lanton Estates
Lord & Lady Vinson
Lowick Hall Estates Limited
Mr F Dakin
Mr G Forbes
Mr J Kirkup
Cllr A Murray Northumberland Country Council
Duke & Duchess of Northumberland
Northumberland National Park
Mr G Farr Pallinsburn Estates
Sir James Knott Trust
Steven Kirkup Livestock
Chatton Village Store
Wooler Golf Club