The 8th Children’s Countryside Day held earlier this week, welcomed school children from across Northumberland and Tyneside for a day of learning, inspiration and fun. 1350 children descended upon the Glendale Showground to learn about the countryside and the importance of farming to their everyday lives. The day is organised by a small group of farmers and farmers’ wives with a passion for informing children about food production and rural life.
West Jesmond School receiving a prize from Lord Joicey for winning this year’s flag competition
This year’s theme was “60 Years of Food and Farming”, coinciding with the Jubilee and celebrating the evolution of agriculture and rural life over the last sixty years. There was even a specific Jubilee tent full of vintage toys, a kitchen comparison of 1952 and 2012 and the opportunity for children to try their hand at the games and crafts that school children their age would have been doing 60 years ago.
Each year the schools are invited to provide an entry for an inter-school competition. This year each school arrived with a flag they had decorated. Each school had to design and create a flag to their own interpretation of 60 Years of Food and Farming. The flags were displayed beside the main ring and later judged by Lord Joicey of Ford and Etal Estates.
The winning flag was made by West Jesmond Primary School and Lord Joicey commented on why this had been selected as the overall winner:
“This flag was well made and depicted the Union Jack. In each triangle segment was a different picture showing the evolution of farming from cereals and vegetables to a Massey Ferguson and a modern combine harvester. West Jesmond Primary School has put a lot of thought into their flag and I felt that it really encompassed the theme presented to the schools”.
The weather held out throughout the day as the children moved between marquees and displays. As in previous years children were able to see the processes that go into getting food from farm to fork or wool from a single fibre to a knitted jersey or felted blanket. Butchery displays, chicken plucking, cheese making and wood turning to name a few. All displays held interactive elements and many exhibitors had also embraced the theme donning outfits and showing the comparisons between the old and new methods of farming.
Student of Richard Coates Church of England Middle School with Doddington Dairy’s Neil Maxwell in the background.Project Manager, Sarah Nelson commented on the day’s success;
“Many of our exhibitors are now in their 8th year of attendance and it is wonderful to see how much the Children’s Countryside Day has grown. Numbers were slightly down due to the Olympic Torch coming through the region however I truly believe that it was one of our best events yet. It is wonderful to see both exhibitors and children embracing the countryside and they really do learn so much in just one day. It brings home the reality of the processes and work that goes into food production and reiterates to the children that food does not just come from a carton or a plastic bag.”
“We had some new exhibits including The Mini Sheep show which provided great entertainment for both the children and the teachers. As always a real hit in the main ring were the dog and sheep displays in the main ring with Cap the clever sheepdog. “
Once again The Allotment was a popular attraction for the children, with a comparison of gardens between a traditional 1960’s allotment with chicken coop and home grown vegetable plots and a modern garden with decking, tiling and pot plants. The children also got the chance to sample fresh produce with an area for tasting herbs, lettuces, carrots and strawberries.
The Children’s Countryside Day is for invited schools only and is only possible with the support of the exhibitors, the volunteers, the sponsors and funders. Without their support this event would never have happened and there would be thousands of children across Northumberland and Tyneside who would not have benefited from this unique classroom in the Countryside.
Further information about Glendale Agricultural Society and the Children’s Countryside Day can be found on www.glendaleshow.com.
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