OVER 260 Borders school primary pupils attended The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative (SBCI) Food and Farming Event, held over two days.
For the third year running, this was held at Springwood Park as SBCI works in partnership with The Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS).
Along with members of the local agricultural community, SBCI created the opportunity for pupils from ten Borders primary schools to experience aspects of farming in a selection of workshop based activities.
Sponsored by the Scottish Government (Food and Drink Industry Division), the objective was to provide a ‘hands on’ educational experience for pupils by exposing them to elements of local farming and food production.
A variety of activities and discussions exploring different types of farming and associated food products enabled the pupils to learn where their food comes from.
Sessions for the event included wool, run by the Woolboard, fish via Seafood Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland covered meat production and the Borders Bee Keeping Society helped educate the youngsters on the importance of bees in the countryside.
A further two activities concerned with cereals and machinery were taken by local farming volunteers.
Building bridges and creating an understanding between farmers, producers and the pupils, who are the consumers of the future is crucial and is a message RHET delivers with their Food and Farming Days.
Many RHET volunteer farmers and producers were present and helped to deliver the programme over the two days.
RHET SBCI would to thank all the producers and 20 or so volunteers involved in what is becoming an annual event at Springwood Park.
The committee are also very grateful to the BUAS for allowing them to utilise this great facility in Kelso.
Besides some well-kent dignitaries from the surrounding farming community, local MSP’s and councillors were invited along to event to see first-hand the importance of the work of RHET SBCI.
Both of the action packed days were designed to give pupils a better awareness of where the food on their plate is produced, plus the importance of the Scottish countryside.
These events provide experiential learning opportunities and are an effective and fun supplement to a farming or healthy-eating topic in school and support ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’.
Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan said: “I’d like to congratulate the organisers of this wonderful initiative and wish them every success over the two day event.
“Supportive of Curriculum for Excellence, this event will provide pupils with a practical understanding of where their food comes from while enjoying the experience in the beautiful Borders countryside.”
Lesley Mason, project co-ordinator for RHET Borders added: “The Food and Farming event at Kelso was great fun for not only the pupils attending, but for all the volunteers who gave up their time to teach the children about the various aspects of food and farming.
“It’s hard to say what the pupils enjoyed best, as the pupils were enthusiastic all day, thinking up a whole variety of questions for the experts.
The butchery session was hugely popular, and Ross Gillie from Lees Butchers was great at showing the pupils how to cut up a lamb carcass.
“The pupils (and volunteers) enjoyed tasting the fish paté that Seafood Scotland prepared with the help of the pupils.
“I would like to thank all my volunteers, as without them I would not be able to deliver this kind of event.”
Among those who took part in the visit were pupils from Greenlaw Primary School, Swinton Primary School and Westruther Primary School. The event was also voted a huge success by the pupils themselves.