Annual School Farms Conference

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Recently, academics, schools and farmers gathered for the Annual School Farms Conference, organised by the School Farms Network, and supported by UK wide charity Social Farms & Gardens and the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.

At this year’s conference, experts gathered to speak about the very latest innovations and case studies for school farming. Topics were highly topical and varied, ranging from: school farming in the far east; how to feed a growing world population; using school farming to transform vulnerable children’s lives, to expert advice on how to set up a school farm.

The conference showcased how all schools, regardless of size, location or status, can benefit hugely from using the natural world as a school resource. School farming approaches - such as learning outdoors or caring for animals - show significant improvements to exam results, self-esteem and overall wellbeing and happiness, whilst equipping younger people for many of the environmental challenges that lie ahead.

Keynote speaker Helen Ward, (Head of Strategic Engagement, Defra) delivered a talk about the Defra 25-year Environment Plan and the ‘Year of Green Action’ - (YoGA) – showing how we can all take positive action to improve our environment. Her talk reinforced the feeling that demand, and interest is growing - influenced by government policy and worldwide events such as the climate change school protests where children themselves are demanding a greener future.

Schools from across the country attended to pick up awards for their great work through School Farming.