Thousands of schoolchildren get hands-on experience of farming and the Suffolk countryside
PUBLISHED: 17:09 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:09 20 April 2017
Thousands of excited schoolchildren descended on Trinity Park in Ipswich today to learn all about food, farming and the Suffolk countryside.
Around 4,500 year 3 and 4 pupils took part in the action-packed 17th annual School Farm and Country Fair, organised by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA).
The event aimed to teach youngsters, their parents and teachers, about where their food comes from and the hard work and innovation it takes to take it from the farm to the dinner table.
The children, from 85 schools in the county, were treated to 80 exhibits – from meeting livestock and farmyard animals to demonstrations of the latest high-tech agricultural gadgets and machinery.
More than 230 dedicated volunteers helped to look after the children on their big day out.
John Taylor, chairman of the fair’s steering committee, said there was plenty for the children to see and do.
He said: “We have the modern farming zone, a food and countryside zone, a safety zone with police ambulance and the air ambulance on show, a livestock zone.
“We have a display ring, a wildlife conservation zone and much more.
“We try to link our exhibitions and everything the children do here to the school curriculum by getting together with teachers and asking them what they want the children to learn.
“We want to show them agriculture as it is and what is great about the Suffolk countryside.
“We want to teach them that all food doesn’t always come in packets.”
Mr Taylor said the SAA subsidised 50% of the transport costs to the schools, meaning the event is open to as many school children as possible.
He said by inviting both years 3 and 4, every child would get a chance to visit at least once during their primary years.
“What we are trying to achieve is to get every school child in Suffolk that applies to get here at once,” he said.
“At the moment we are achieving that key objective.
“First, we want to get them out of the classroom because it makes it a better day for them.
“Then we want to make it as fun as we can which helps them soak it up and learn.
“Hopefully they will get back with a much better understanding of the countryside, farming and where they live.”