NSW Farmers has committed to maintaining a successful educational resource now that government funding has dried up.
The popular Kids To Farms program, which has facilitated an agricultural experience for 106 schools and 6151 students, was set to shut down on June 30 with the cessation of Federal Government funding.
But NSW Farmers Projects Manager Georgia Campbell said it had been such a fantastic success that the state farming organisation would maintain the website that allowed schools to get in touch with farmers so agricultural experiences could continue.
“We’ve seen such a great response from the students who engaged with this program, and we really want to see this continue in any way we can,” Ms Campbell said.
“While we won’t be able to directly facilitate these experiences after June 30, we’ll still help teachers find local farmers and hopefully we can one day reactivate the program to its full capacity.
“Given 59 per cent of students learn about food and fibre production from their teachers, it’s important we support them in teaching students about the agricultural industry.”
The program, initially funded by the Australian Government, aimed to give children an understanding of where their food and clothing came from by bridging the divide between classrooms and farms.
It was a significant and ongoing concern given university studies continued to show four in five primary students and three in five secondary students believed commercial milking of dairy cows occurred by hand, a third of young people aged 12 to 19 didn’t know yoghurt was an animal product, and just under two-thirds didn’t know cotton was derived from a plant.
“We know a shocking number of people have no idea where their food comes from,” Ms Campbell said.
“In an age where the cost of living and global food insecurity is rising, it’s critical we continue to reach and engage the next generation and show them farmers grow the food and fibre that feeds and clothes everyone.
“We’re proud to continue these efforts, and this program is proof that students and teachers can learn a lot by engaging with industry.”
Head to kidstofarms.com.au for more information and to apply for funding.