Farmer Time offers pupils insights into food, farming and the countryside

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Farmer Time: Founder Tom Martin, of Village Farms in Cambridgeshire (both images)

The Farmer Time initiative has now reached almost 16,000 children, connecting them with farming, food production and the countryside.

The scheme is free and is run by charity LEAF Education. It sees pupils speaking to farmers in their fields using digital technology, including face-time.

Launched in 2017, it has now reached 524 schools and 15,720 pupils – and is particularly well placed to continue its work during the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing in schools.

Farmer Time enables pupils to regularly chat live with their matched farmer from their classrooms through a video call platform, such as FaceTime or Skype.

LEAF Education is continuing to develop Farmer Time in collaboration with founder, Tom Martin of Village Farms in Cambridgeshire – who is now known to many pupils as Farmer Tom.

An impact report published this month shows that 96 per cent of the participating teachers believe that their pupils have gained a better understanding of the food supply chain thanks to the project. It highlights a number of learning outcomes, including:

  • Highlighting the role of agriculture in society.
  • Understanding the work behind food production
  • Connecting young people with the countryside
  • Myth-busting about farms and farming

Carl Edwards, director of education at LEAF Education, said: “We are delighted to see the impact Farmer Time is having on educating, inspiring and engaging children with farming, how their food is grown and where it comes from. It is fantastic to see that, despite the challenges schools faced during the summer term due to the impact of coronavirus, many of our Farmer Time school/farmer pairings continued to thrive – both with key workers’ children and those being home-schooled.”


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