Children learn that you are what you eat

GLENDALE Agricultural Society’s Children’s Countryside Day has a new chairman.

Jayne Watson will chair the annual event which, attended by more than 1,500 first school pupils, is the biggest educational event of its kind in the North.

Every June, the Glendale Showfield near Wooler is transformed into an open air classroom giving children a unique opportunity to learn more about the countryside.

Jayne’s role as an agent for NFU Mutual based in Morpeth and life on the family farm at Bowsden Moor with husband Jonathan and children James, six, and Thomas, four, means she is well aware of the importance of rural issues.

James, who attends Lowick First School, will be attending the countryside day for the first time and is looking forward to seeing it first hand.

Four to nine-year-olds from schools in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear come from both rural and urban areas and for many this is their first taste of country life.

Each year, in order to connect the curriculum to the countryside and allow teachers to help pupils prepare for the day, the event has a specific theme.

This year ‘s is Grow Eat Grow.

Jayne said: “Grow Eat Grow is a way of encapsulating the basic principles of you are what you eat and becoming more in touch with the source of our food. In its most basic form – we grow food to eat in order to grow.

“Food production is an important part of the Glendale area but is integrated with many other related industries which work together to make our landscape, our community, our workplace and our environment so special.

“This year the Countryside Day will show children this diversity and while food production, quality, price and source are all hot topics, the aim is to provide simple, clear messages so children can make their own informed choices in the future.”

The event, now in its seventh year, is a huge undertaking by the local community and is supported by a range of organisations, individuals and businesses, including hosts the Lilburn Estate Farming Partnership.

Livestock is brought in both from the estate and neighbouring farms with farmers on hand to talk to the children.

The local farrier, vet, hunt, stick-dressing association and land agents are involved, as well as the National Gamekeepers Organisation, Tarmac Ltd, The Potato Council, the NFU, The Country Trust and Northumberland County Council. Local food producers include Heatherslaw Mill, Doddington Dairy, Sunnyhill Eggs and various local butchers.

Jayne said: “We are truly grateful to all these dedicated exhibitors who give their time and resources freely to this event with a shared passion for its worth, they ensure that this event can take place each summer.

“We can all be proud of the event we have developed and feedback shows that it is a positive learning experience for all the children involved.”