How do you get kids excited about farming? FaceTime a Farmer! Whether you think this sounds brilliant or bonkers, it’s a genuine initiative designed to help bring enthusiasm for agriculture into the classroom.
Facetime A Farmer is the brainchild of Cambridgeshire farmer, Tom Martin.
Mr Martin speaks to an urban school class in Sussex via his Smartphone twice a month. He updates them on his activities and the children have the chance to ask him questions. The aim is to help them develop their understanding of farming, food and the countryside.
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is an organisation aiming to deliver sustainable food and farming practices in local communities. They’re looking for more farmers and schools to take part. Together, everyone involved will help bridge the gap between farming and the dinner plate.
Isn’t FaceTime a Farmer Just a Gimmick?
Modern children have become increasingly disconnected from farming and agriculture. Particularly in urban areas where they may never see a cow, a sheep or a field of barley in real life. This disconnect with the natural world may be one of the reasons why we are facing several issues on a large scale. These include an obesity epidemic, antibiotic resistant disease and a rise in food allergies.
Children should have a greater understanding of the environment. They should know where food comes from, how it’s produced and how it’s made into recognisable meals. This understanding might lead them to making better, healthier food and environmental choices as children and adults. Choices that fight obesity and tooth decay, promote sustainability and an interest in the countryside.
FaceTime a Farmer gives children the opportunity to get firsthand information. An enthusiastic farmer will talk to them using a method of communication the kids enjoy. Skype and FaceTime are modern and exciting ways to learn and communicate. In effect it’s using new technology to connect children and farmers together, giving them an insight into traditional farming practices. They may soon learn that farming isn’t so old fashioned after all!
FaceTime a Farmer – a Simple Idea with Far Reaching Results
Using technology to get kids excited about the environment is becoming more commonplace. But it doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple smartphone and field is all you need!
Farmers connect to a classroom via smartphone or Skype. They talk about soil, animals for food, animal welfare, the seasons, the farming business. Farmers bring real experience directly to the classroom. This is more interactive and interesting to tech-obsessed kids than reading about it in a book.
There are benefits for both camps. Children learn about farming, health and environmental sustainability. In turn, farmers can encourage young people into the struggling agriculture industry.
Who Is FaceTime a Farmer For?
The pilot scheme undertaken by farmer Tom Martin was very successful. LEAF are now looking for more technologically forward farmers who are keen to talk about agriculture with children. They are also looking for more schools that have the IT capability to take part.
FaceTime a Farmer is for all children, both rurally-based and urban. The project is still in its early stages but this initiative could be rolled out to adult learners too. The more we understand about our food processes and environmental footprint, the better our choices.
How to Get Involved
If you’re a parent it’s worth speaking to your class teacher about FaceTime a Farmer. As it’s a new initiative, they may not have heard about it.
If you’re a farmer (or know one) who can speak to children in an engaging way, get involved! Especially if you’re keen to spread the love of farming.
This project could be hugely beneficial to children’s health and encourage them to eat well. It can also inspire them to live sustainably, make good food choices and get out into the countryside. Contact LEAF to find out more.
For children to comprehend what sustainability is and improve their health, they need to see and understand the countryside. What is a burger made from, and what are the healthier options? FaceTime A Farmer means they can get answers to their questions. They can be guided towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Using the tech that kids love so much to introduce farming and agriculture is surely the way forward. We can’t fight the onslaught of technology, so let’s use it in the right way.