An inner-city school in the heart of London ditched their textbooks and put on their wellies as the classroom was transformed into a farm.
It is part of eight-year-old Afeefa Haroon’s grand prize for winning the NFU’s Farmvention competition this year.
Her school, Ronald Ross, has undergone a transformation from urban primary school to rural farm, where children are learning about what it takes to be a British farmer and a custodian of the countryside.
Some of the activities include hatching chicks, flying drones, potato harvesting and pizza and yogurt making.
The competition, which taught Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths through the lens of food and farming, received over 1,000 entries from schools all over the country.
It is now being rolled out for a second year.
Reconnecting children with rural life
It is part of the NFU’s aim to reconnect children with the countryside and rural life.
It aims to develop their understanding of agriculture and provide the information needed so they can maintain a healthy, balanced diet in the future.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “It has been great to see so many children here today getting excited about food and farming, asking about where the food they love comes from and how farmers produce it.
“That’s what our Farmvention competition is all about – bridging the gap between the next generation, especially those in urban areas, and the food on their plates.”
She said the education system has an important role to play in opening children’s minds to new opportunities.
Farming and STEM learning
The success of this year’s Farmvention competition shows how well the food and farming context fits within STEM learning.
It offers children the chance to explore and experience a completely new area that they otherwise might miss.
Ronald Ross Headteacher Abby Brady said: “Farmvention has shown our pupils that there are amazing opportunities awaiting them in Britain’s countryside.
“It has really helped broaden their horizons, especially as many of the children haven’t even been outside of London.”
Afeefa’s winning entry was an eco-friendly zip-line robot that protects soil structure by sowing, maintaining and picking the crop from above, removing the need for heavy machinery.
She also considered how it would be powered; using wind turbines and solar panels to produce enough renewable energy to keep it going all year round.