Earlston dairy farmer Sally Wilson is the latest volunteer to sign up to help local children learn more about farming and where their food comes from.
The immediate past chairwoman of Scotland’s Young Farmers is volunteering with the Royal Highland Education Trust and says she wants to welcome as many schools onto the family farm of Clackmae, Blainslie, as want to visit.
She explained: “It’s really important that farmers are in contact with their consumers. Farmers can become so bogged down in the daily grind and you can forget who the end user is.
“It’s very important to educate children about where their food comes from. You hear horror stories of milk coming from factories and being a man-made product. The other side is, agriculture gets written off as a career option in schools and it is really important to show children agriculture is a really varied industry. I’m milking cows using robots. It’s a technologically-advanced industry, yet the image is still of people leaning on gates chewing straw.”
She stepped down as the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYF) chairwoman in May and says of the rural charity: “I owe SAYF a huge debt of gratitude. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my involvement with Young Farmers and the skillset I have picked up is phenomenal. It’s given me a huge opportunity to travel and meet people all over the world.”
RHET’s local coordinator Lesley Mason said the trust’s services are free to schools, with farm visits and class talks tailored to suit specific topics and experiential learning opportunities required in a Curriculum for Excellence.
“Without hard-working volunteers willing to host farm visits and provide classroom talks, the work of RHET Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative would grind to a halt.”