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Charity proposes "Year of Food and Farming"

[Monday 15 May 2006]

A YEAR dedicated to celebrating the best of British food and farming is on the cards after a meeting of a leading countryside charity.

How we can help children to connect the food they eat with where it comes from was at the centre of discussions at the annual meeting of Farming and Countryside Education (FACE). Former schools inspector, Sir Mike Tomlinson, proposed that a Year of Food & Farming be held to address the problem.

hill sheep
FACE aims to connect young people with
countryside, farming and food

The main aim of the Year would be to improve understanding by children, and adults, of the food chain and the role played by farming. Hopefully, increased links between schools, farmers and food producers would raise interest in what was described by delegates as a "vital sector".

The Year would bring together a whole series of initiatives from healthy eating to farm visits. Activities and events could take many forms such as visits, new materials and resources for schools, debates, competitions and projects.

The idea, following along the lines of the successful Industry Year in the 1980s, was made public at the Annual Meeting of FACE, an educational charity which helps young people to learn more about food, farming and the countryside. The meeting was hosted by Helen Ghosh, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Sir Don Curry, chair of the FACE strategy group, spoke about the important role that the charity has in reconnecting with young people as part of the Government's Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy: "The concept of a Year of Food and Farming is an extremely exciting one, and I am delighted that there has already been strong support for it.

"School children need to have a better understanding of where their food comes from, how it is grown and produced and how it should form part of a balanced, nutritious diet.

"A year of Food and Farming in education would go a long way to achieve this. Indeed it will provide a catalyst to drive forward many aspects of the Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy."

Helen Ghosh also spoke on how the work of FACE linked closely with that of Defra: "The work that FACE does in engaging children in so many aspects of agriculture, food and biodiversity contributes to some of Defra's most important objectives.

"I have seen for myself in schools, on farms, and in the countryside how successfully children can be engaged in the challenges that face us."

Anyone interested in the concept of the Year of Food & Farming is invited to contact Bill Graham at FACE on 02476 853088, or email bill@face-online.org.uk

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