Despite federal government funding for the popular Kids To Farms program expiring on June 30, NSW Farmers says it’s committed to supporting schools to continue with the vital program that helps children learn about where food and fibre comes from.
The NSWF will continue to make funding submissions.
The successful NSW Farmers program, initially funded by the Australian government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), aimed to give children an understanding of where their food and clothing came from by bridging the divide between classrooms and farms.
With $5 million distributed over three years to support primary school programs to educate students about agriculture production, sustainability practices, and farm-land stewardship, NSW Farmers were one of seven farming bodies that were funded under the program.
NSW Farmers Project Manager, Georgia Campbell, says in an age where cost of living and global food insecurity is rising, it’s critical that communities continue to engage the next generation in local food production practises, and show them how farmers grow the food and fibre that feeds and clothes everyone.
The popular Kids To Farms program, which has facilitated an agricultural experience for 106 schools and 6151 students since it started over two years ago, was set to shut down on June 30 with the termination of Federal Government funding, but Ms Campbell said it had been such a “fantastic success” that they 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 will no longer be able to provide staff for these experiences, we’ll still help teachers find local farmers and hopefully we can one day reactivate the program to its full capacity.”
“Given 59% of students learn about food and fibre production from their teachers, it’s important we support them in teaching students about the agricultural industry,” she said. “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,” Ms Campbell explained.
“We know a shocking number of people have no idea where their food comes from so, we’re proud to continue these efforts, and this program is proof that students and teachers can learn a lot by engaging with industry.”
For more information about Kids To Farms program, visit: www.kidstofarms.com.au