Scarecrows to help Schools Celebrate Food and Farming Day

Nearly 3,000 primary schoolchildren and 64 scarecrows will be visiting the tenth Essex Schools Food and Farming Day.

The Essex Agricultural Society event, hosted at Writtle University College near Chelmsford, and supported by Essex County Council, is being held on Wednesday 7 June.

Food and Farming Day 2016

Food and Farming Day 2016

To celebrate its ten-year anniversary, each attending school has been asked to make a scarecrow, which will be judged on the day. They have been encouraged to use recycled materials and accessories, and the winning creation will scoop prizes for their school garden.

The fun, educational and interactive event has gone from strength to strength in the last decade, giving Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils from across the county the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of farming, food production and the countryside.

The show area is divided into five zones – Machinery, Crops, Livestock, Countryside & Environment and Food – with a host of exhibitors inspiring pupils with their displays, demonstrations and interactive activities.

The aim is to give schoolchildren – some of whom have never visited a farm before – the opportunity to see how the Essex countryside works and meet those people who are responsible for its management and sustainability.

They will be given the opportunity to explore the link between food and farming, meet animals close-up, and get involved in a range of exciting activities. At this year’s event, they will be able to have a go at pressing oils, milling grain and making smoothies; hear the thunderous roar of a combine harvester at a machinery demonstration; see sheep being sheared and find out how farmers are helping to sustain wildlife.

The exhibits are based on links to the National Curriculum, offering an enjoyable and educational experience to pupils, with teachers encouraged to build it into subjects such as Science, History, Citizenship, ICT, Literacy, Art & Design and Geography.

Representatives of the local farming community act as stewards for each school group and Writtle University College staff and students help run the event alongside Essex Agricultural Society volunteers.

Karen Watson, Essex Agricultural Society organiser and school liaison officer, said:
"It is very exciting to be hosting our 10th Essex Schools Food and Farming Day, giving children the opportunity to leave the classroom and enjoy this fun, educational event.

“These children are our future consumers and countryside users, and it is important to explain to them how their food is produced, and, as farmers, how we look after the Essex countryside so that it is productive, bio-diverse and beautiful."

Rosemary Padfield, chair of the event’s steering group, said:
“Our aim is for the children to gain a greater understanding of how their food reaches the table and the work we as farmers do to protect and nurture the countryside. As the children pass through the five zones at this event, they can see the whole food cycle - from sowing the seed to the plants growing, and the end use in food production.”

Dr Steve Waite, Writtle University College Vice Chancellor, said:
“Over the last ten years, the Essex Agricultural Society has helped 30,000 schoolchildren understand how important farming is to their lives and to the county. This is an inspiring event which will hopefully plant the seed about how exciting and fulfilling a career in these industries could be – maybe in ten years’ time we will be welcoming them again as students on one of our land-based courses here!”

Cllr Simon Walsh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste at Essex County Council, which sponsors the event, said:
“We are delighted to be supporting such a fantastic event, which gives children an important and often forgotten insight into the journey of their food, from field to fork.

“Agriculture is vital to the Essex economy as it employs thousands and feeds millions. The more we can help children understand, the more chance we have of preserving our rural traditions and landscape for future generations.”

Funders and sponsors of the Essex Schools Food and Farming Day are:

  • Essex County Council
  • The Perry Foundation
  • NFU Members Trust
  • Felix Cobbold Thornley Trust
  • Chadacre Agricultural Trust
  • RCCE (Rural Community Council of Essex)
  • Ernest Doe
  • Fram Farmers
  • The Morley Agricultural Foundation
  • Nat West Bank
  • Mike Porter Limited
  • Birkett Long Solicitors

The scarecrow prizes are sponsored by Smith Farms (Clacton) Ltd and the NFU.

Machinery Zone – machinery such as tractors, combine harvesters, fork-lifts, seed drills, cultivators, balers and trailers will be on display. Children will learn how machinery contributes to a supply of affordable food, how it has transformed food production, and how fields are seeded, how crops are managed by machines and how they are harvested.


  • Ernest Doe
  • NFU East Anglia

Crops Zone – children will learn how plants produce food, fibre and fuel. There will find out about wheat, barley, potatoes, beans, peas, oilseed rape, sugar beet and field vegetables. Children will see how flour is turned into a multitude of foods such as bread.


  • ADM - Oilseed Rape
  • British Sugar - Sugar and related products in the UK
  • Fram Farmers – The Shopping Game.
  • Frontier Agriculture – From Field to Plate
  • Mike Porter Ltd – Combinable Crops usage
  • S Thorogood & Sons – Fruit and Veg
  • SE Essex Organic Gardeners – Growing Seasonal Vegetables
  • Stourgarden Ltd - From seed to shop – The Onion Story
  • W & H Marriage & Sons Ltd - Farmhouse Breakfast

Livestock Zone – pupils will find out about raising livestock for meat, wool or milk and will be able to see animals such as cows, pigs, sheep and poultry, as well as go to demonstrations of cow milking and sheep shearing.


  • The Sheep Show
  • Centre for Equine and Animal Science (CEQAS) - How Much Can a Cow Eat?
  • Writtle University College’s Cow Tracking Project
  • Kelly Turkeys Ltd
  • John Smith - milking cows
  • Writtle University College Farm - lambs and pigs
  • Butlers Farm - alpaca
  • Moor Hall Farms - from egg to chick

Countryside and Environment Zone – the role farmers have in managing the countryside so it is a rich landscape that is beneficial to both wildlife conservation and to recreation.


  • Anglia Water – Wheel of Fortune
  • Anglian Willow Service Ltd - Cricket Bat Willow
  • Buglife – Essex is Buzzing
  • Chelmsford Beekeepers
  • Environment Agency – healthy rivers
  • Essex & Suffolk Water – ‘Making’ Water Efficiency Fun!
  • Essex Wildlife Trust – Seed-sorting/matching and making your own bird food.
  • Imperial Birds of Prey Academy – Birds of Prey
  • Lee Valley Park - Creatures of the Crop
  • Royal Horticultural Society – Leaf me alone!
  • Wilderness Foundation UK (Chatham Green Project)

Food Zone - the culmination of the field to fork story. Children will see how ingredients produced in the Livestock and Crop Zones are turned into delicious and nutritious food.


  • Wilkin and Sons Ltd - Tiptree Jam
  • BASC (The British Association for Shooting and Conservation) – Deer and Game as Food
  • Barleylands Education Team – Milk
  • Duchess Oil - Cold Pressed Oilseed Rape
  • East of England Co-op - Cookery
  • Great Garnetts Farm – Sausage Making
  • Lea Valley Growers Association – Greenhouse-grown vegetables
  • Richard Haward Oysters – oyster growing in the Blackwater
  • Wicks Manor - pork producers
  • Writtle University College’s Horticulture Department – Grow your own edibles

Writtle College

Related Links
link Provenance and Credibility the Watchwords say LAA
link Wide Vehicles - What are the Rules?
link College's Commitment to Upland Farming
link Resolving Boundary Disputes on the Farm