Children find out about the countryside

Connect With The Countryside event organised by the South of England Agricultural Society at Ardingly
Connect With The Countryside event organised by the South of England Agricultural Society at Ardingly

PRIMARY SCHOOL children from across East Sussex spent a day finding out all about the countryside and where, exactly, much of their food is sourced last Thursday.

Connect with the Countryside is an initiative spearheaded by the South of England Agricultural Society which hosts the South of England Show. Society director Deborah Barber said: “Our Connect Day is all about giving young visitors a greater understanding of farming, food production and an appreciation of the countryside. The aim is to inspire teachers to look at ways they can use the countryside in greater depth when teaching the curriculum, and to allow the children direct access to a wide range of animals and farming practices in a really inter-active and positive way.”

Schools from from Alfriston, Blackboys, Burwash, Denton, Hamsey, Laughton, Newick, Heathfield and Mayfield made the journey to the Society’s showground at Ardingly.

Event organiser Karen Pritty said: “The comments we hear are encouraging.  As a Society we have a duty to help people discover how important farming and the countryside are in their everyday lives – how they rely on the rural economy for everything from cornflakes to cardigans.  Now in its sixth year, Connect with the Countryside is as relevant as ever and we hope the initiative with continue for many years to come.”

Young visitors all appeared to enjoy their day out of the classroom. Among popular attractions were being able to handle wildlife, engage with birds of prey and watch an entertaining Sheep Show. New Zealander Stuart Barnes introduced various sheep breeds going through key products we get from sheep (milk, wool, and meat,) demonstrated sheep-shearing and ended with a finale of sheep dancing to Abba music.

Statistics show few children nowadays know where their food comes from. “We will be continuing with our remit to promote agriculture, support farmers and raise awareness of the countryside”, said Deborah. Connect with the Countryside will be a feature of our annual calendar.” Schools interested in attending next year should email education@seas.org.uk