Farmers across the country are being asked to go back to school as a part of a new educational programme for children called Farmer Time.
The initiative, which originates from the UK, links farmers with primary and intermediate school children through virtual classroom sessions using video call technology.
Students regularly chat live with their matched farmer, gaining an understanding of farming across the seasons and providing real-world examples of what they’re learning during the school year.
Kit Arkwright, CEO of Beef + Lamb Inc, which is driving the initiative, is keen to see food producers from all sectors get involved.
“Farmer Time puts actual farmers in front of children and gives them genuine insights into how our food is being produced. The feedback from both teachers and farmers has been incredible.”
A pilot programme, which involves eight farmer-teacher pairings across six schools with approximately 184 students, ran across term one, with many pairing staying with the programme in term 2.
Marie Burke, a sheep and beef and crop farmer from Tairāwhiti/Gisborne region, is one of the farmers participating in the pilot. She is paired with a school in Orewa, Auckland.
“Farmer Time is such a great programme and I really encourage fellow farmers to sign up. The teachers and children we’ve been matched with have loved learning about what we do and how we grow food. My husband was initially unsure when I first mentioned Farmer Time, but he’s really enjoyed the interactions we’ve had with the class we’re matched with, and is now almost a bigger fan than I am.”
Food producers who want to get involved or find out more information can visit: www.farmertime.co.nz.