Today (Friday 19 July), children at Ronald Ross Primary School in Wandsworth, South London, learned more about where their food comes from and potential careers in farming as NFU Education brought a tractor, animals and a range of farming-related curriculum-focused activities into the playground.
Ronald Ross Primary won the unique 'farm for a day' experience after being named the NFU's inaugural Farmvention Champion in March, thanks to a winning design for a 'tractor of the future' courtesy of eight-year-old pupil Afeefa Haroon. Her eco-friendly drone zip line idea was designed to protect soil structure by sowing, maintaining and picking crops from above, removing the need for heavy machinery. She also considered how it would be powered; using wind turbines and solar panels to produce enough renewable energy to keep it going all year round.
Afeefa's idea was chosen from more than 1,000 entries showcasing designs for either a tractor of the future, a healthy British snack product, or an environment for laying hens.
This activity is all part of the NFU’s aim to reconnect children with the countryside and rural life, develop their understanding of agriculture and provide the information needed so they can maintain a healthy, balanced diet in the future.
NFU President Minette Batters attended the celebration day, where Afeefa's classmates had the opportunity to take part in educational workshops learning about robotics and drone technology as well as coming face to face with animals including chickens, goats and lambs.
Mrs Batters said:
“It has been great to see so many children here today getting excited about food and farming, asking about where the food they love comes from and how farmers produce it.
“That’s what our Farmvention competition is all about – bridging the gap between the next generation, especially those in urban areas, and the food on their plates.
“The education system has such an important role to play in opening children’s minds to new opportunities. The success of this year’s Farmvention competition shows how well the food and farming context fits within STEM learning, and offers children the chance to explore and experience a completely new area that they otherwise might miss.”
Ronald Ross headteacher Abby Brady said:
“Farmvention has shown our pupils that there are amazing opportunities awaiting them in Britain’s countryside. It has really helped broaden their horizons, especially as many of the children haven’t even been outside of London.
“As a headteacher there’s nothing better than pupils who are enthusiastic about learning and it’s been amazing to see them so excited to experience new things, from making pizzas and flying drones to brushing ponies and caring for newly-hatched chicks.
“I think it’s safe to say that all the children have loved stepping into the shoes of our wonderful farmers. It’s a day they’ll remember long into the future.”
See more from the day:
More about the NFU's Farmvention competition
Farmvention harnesses and develops primary school pupils' problem-solving abilities by asking them to come up with ideas to solve real-life farming challenges using Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills.
In the first year of the competition, nine winners were chosen from more than 1,000 entries showcasing designs for either a tractor of the future, a healthy British snack product, or an environment for laying hens.
For 2019, children can choose to:
- Design a unique clothing product using British wool
- Design a healthy street food dish celebrating at least one item of British produce
- Design a farming machine for 2040 and explain its benefits for the environment
The competition opens for entries on 9 September 2019, and closes on 23 December 2019.