Teenagers Talk Farming

An extensive programme of pioneering research to encourage better teenager engagement is helping the farming industry define how it becomes more relevant to the next generation, addressing the issues they care about and igniting their interest in the sector’s career opportunities.

The twelve-month research programme, commissioned by LEAF Education and supported by Rothamsted Research, comprised a survey of over 1,000 12 to 18-year olds across the UK and interviews with 60 teenagers at a Teenager Empowerment event, attended by LEAF’s Honorary President, HRH The Countess of Wessex last month. The outcomes of the research will help shape new strategies and priorities for the food and farming industry to more effectively connect with young people.

Speaking about the importance of this work at the Teenager Empowerment event, HRH The Countess of Wessex said:
"Young people are shaping their futures and I think we ignore them at our peril. We really must engage and we must do it now in order that we can reap the benefits soon."

Teenager research revealed:

  • • 35% of young people would consider a career in food and farming, but only 22% have received relevant careers information.
  • • 65% would look online and 20% on social media to find out more about farming.
  • • 35% believe strongly that science and innovation will underpin a sustainable future for farming.
  • • 41% strongly agreed that young people should be more interested in how food is produced and where food comes from.
  • • 42% said that short (30 second) videos were the preferred choice for content.

The research revealed that despite teenagers feeling disconnected to farming and having limited understanding of what it delivers, many of today’s young people are interested in how their food is produced and the work farmers do. In particular, they hold strong views around the environmental impact of farming and, furthermore, they would like to know more about career opportunities available in the sector.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to finding out more, teenagers are turning to social media, specifically, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube as their preferred channel and still identify with ‘older’ food celebrities, such as Jamie Oliver, but there is also an increase in young bloggers, vloggers and chefs.

Following the outcomes of the research programme, a new road-map for teenager outreach is being drawn up by LEAF Education in consultation with the agri-food industry, based on five key priority themes:

  • • Outdoor Inspiration
  • • Community Hub
  • • Fit for Life
  • • Farming Futures and Careers
  • • Let’s Connect

Click here to view the full press release.

A summary of the survey results can be found at https://bit.ly/2COH7vQ