EDUCATION about farming and food production should be incorporated into the school syllabus, NFU county chairman Simon Bainbridge has said, as the union rolls out a new educational agriculture programme for primary schools.

‘STEMterprise’ is the latest NFU initiative which takes primary school children through the process of setting up their own farm shop business using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Children are encouraged to grow their own ingredients, use market research to test ideas, calculate expected profit and design responsible packaging.

Last year, the union’s children’s competition Farmvention, where children were encouraged to invent their own farming products, was entered by more than 1,000 schools.

So far, more than 200 teachers from around the country have been trained by the NFU education team to deliver the work in primary schools.

“It is shocking how many children believe that food simply appears on the supermarket shelves because they are never fully taught about where their food comes from, who produces it, and why a balance of meat, veg and dairy is important for a healthy diet,” said Simon. “I believe we should start to change that from now.

“The next generation should be taken out to farms, where they are shown a day in the life of a farmer, and can learn about the process from field to fork.

“I think this would also help to dispel some of the negative myths about farming which currently surround the industry, whilst potentially inspiring the next generation to want a future career in the agriculture sector.”