Inspirational farms in the running for top education awards

Nine British farms and farming organisations have been shortlisted for awards recognising their work educating young people about food and farming.

The winners of the awards, which are run by farming education charity LEAF Education and agri-pharmaceuticals company Bayer Crop Science, will be announced at a gala event in November.

“The standard of entries this year has been fantastic,” said Carl Edwards, director of LEAF Education.

There were so many great examples of innovative practices making a real difference to the education young people receive about food and farming, but in the end, we have chosen nine exceptional farms and organisations to go through to the next stage of judging.

Michael Muncey, head of business for Bayer Crop Science in the UK, added: “There has never been a more important time to host these awards celebrating the value that farmers bring to society through education initiatives.

“UK farming is an exciting place to be in, and we are delighted to be once again recognising those people going out of their way to share their passion for why farming is such an important profession.”

Janet Hickinbottom MBE, national education officer at LEAF Education, said narrowing down the shortlist had been particularly difficult this year.

“We have a strong tradition of working together to celebrate the tremendous work carried out by unsung heroes who do so much to share their knowledge and enthusiasm about the countryside with young people,” she said.

“The process is not an easy one, but the outcome is always exhilarating as we uncover what goes on during these inspiring collaborations between schools and farms.”

Shortlist

The shortlisted farms are as follows:

Primary Education

  • Matthew Hawthorne, Euston Farm, Thetford, Suffolk;
  • Emma Loder-Symonds, Nonington Farms Goodnestone, Canterbury, Kent;
  • John Plumb, Southfields Farm Coleshill, West Midlands.

Secondary Education

  • Stuart Yarwood, Cheshire Agricultural Society Knutsford, Cheshire;
  • Donna Ashlee, Brockhill Farm Saltwood, Hythe, Kent;
  • Jenna Cains Wilderness Project Chatham Green, Chelmsford, Essex.

Innovative Learning

  • Philip Pearson, APS Produce, Chichester, West Sussex.
  • Alison Pye, Old Holly Farm Garstang, Preston, Lancashire;
  • Marianne & Alistair Hodge, Whitsome Farm Duns, Berwickshire.

Two of the categories honour the different approaches taken for working with younger children and teenagers, while a third award – the Innovative Learning Award – recognises a farm or agricultural business demonstrating pioneering work.

This could include the use of technology or modern, sustainable farming methods.