Over 60 teenagers from across the UK came together on Wednesday, September 12, to debate issues around farming and to help shape the future direction of how the industry engages with young people.

Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) Education’s Teenager Engagement Day was held at the educational facility in Harpenden, The Farmschool.

The event was attended by the charity's honorary president, HRH The Countess of Wessex.

LEAF Education

As LEAF Education looks to extend its outreach to teenagers, the event represents the first in a series of new initiatives aimed at understanding the way in which teenagers view food and farming and involving them as it formulates its future strategy and priorities.

During the event, teenagers led and participated in discussion groups and debated issues such as:

  • Outdoor learning;
  • Health and well being;
  • Communication;
  • Careers in agriculture;
  • Linking schools with farming.

They were encouraged to explore ideas and identify options for potential LEAF Education activity. Teenagers were asked to present the main findings from their discussion groups, show videos they had created during the day and vote on the best ideas generated from each group.

Speaking at the event, director of LEAF Education, Carl Edwards, said: “Today’s event was all about listening to teenagers, hearing their ideas, finding out what issues matter most to them and why they feel disconnected to farming and the outside world. It has been a truly inspiring day.

Young people represent our workforce and consumers of the future. They have a strong voice and clear opinions.

The organisation will now work with the facilitator students from Brockhill Park School to analyse the outputs from the Teenager Engagement Day.

The research findings will be revealed and presented alongside an outline of forthcoming LEAF Education activity at the LEAF Education and Public Engagement Conference on October 16, held at Rothamsted Research.