'Farm to Fork' initiative gains momentum

Hannah Downey

In a new initiative by the Scottish Government, young people will have the chance to learn where their food comes from, how it gets from farm to fork, and raise their awareness of Scotland’s rural economy.

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon, recently attended West Craigie Farm near Queensferry with pupils from Queensferry Primary School. She said: 

“Scotland’s larder is world renowned, and it is important that young people, from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to better understand its quality and enjoy our wonderful produce as part of a balanced healthy diet.

“As food and drink fortnight comes to a close, the importance of educating young people about having a healthy relationship with food is a key pillar to our aspiration for Scotland to become a Good Food Nation and is why the recent Programme for Government committed to providing more opportunities for primary school children to have the chance to visit a farm.

“Through visiting farms such as this, young people are also exposed to the diversity of opportunities available to them within the rural economy as well as gaining a better awareness of how their food gets from the farm to their plates.”

The 'Farm to Fork' concept is also gaining momentum elsewhere in the UK. TV Naturalist Chris Packham has recently stated that all primary schools in Britain should be paired with a farm, to encourage a better understanding in schoolchildren of how their food is produced.

Packham discusses his proposal in the recently published “People’s Manifesto for Wildlife”, which states, "Children who grow their own fruit and veg and cook it are more likely to eat it: they will understand where it comes from, will feel a sense of achievement and will be excited to eventually see it on their plate."

The Country Trust, an educational charity, has said that farm visits allow children “to make informed decisions about the food that they eat” and “feel more responsible for their own and the wider environment”. 

Michael Gove, secretary of state for the environment, has vowed to consider the proposals outlined in the manifesto. He said: “Chris Packham and his colleagues have successfully motivated the public to get behind many of these issues. Through our schools we can develop the next generation of environmentally aware citizens, and ensure wildlife and the natural world is protected.”