Hundreds of schoolchildren from across Northumberland and Tyneside gathered in Glendale last week to learn more about the countryside, farming and where their food comes from.
Organised by the Glendale Agricultural Society, around 1,700 youngsters from 40 schools turned out for the ninth annual Children’s Countryside Day on the showfield south of Wooler last Thursday.
The event this year, run by 250 volunteers and featuring 60 stands and exhibits, was themed on flour power – with the Glendale area being one of the foremost grain-producing areas in the UK.
There was also a focus on the crop crisis, particularly for arable farmers, following months of adverse weather.
Children aged between five and nine learnt which cereals make their bread, cakes, pasta, rapeseed oil and many other staple items.
For the competition, each school decorated biscuits made using local produce and cereals and the winners were Hugh Joicey C of E First School at Ford.
And a day focusing on flour power could not happen without some form of fashion item, so Roddam WI made a flour dough pendant for each child to decorate and take home with them.
They saw how sheep are auctioned, sheared and butchered, they plucked chickens, Lion coded eggs, learnt that milk was not from a bottle and that cheese was made from the milk.
Chairman of the Countryside Day committee Hannah Hubb said: “We have all had the most fantastic day, the sun shone and the huge field was full of smiling faces.
“But the Children’s Country Day, is an event that has a very serious mission. Our aim as an organisation is to re-engage children with the origins of food and the ways of the countryside.
“A recent survey by the British Nutrition Foundation found that 29 per cent of primary aged children thought that cheese came from plants.
“So, I do very much hope that the children who attended today will have a much fuller understanding of where their food comes from and that 100 per cent of the children went home knowing that cheese is very definitely made from milk.”
Since the first Countryside Day nine years ago, Glendale Agricultural Society has educated more than 20,000 children. The Society, which is based in Wooler, invites schools from both urban and rural areas to attend.
Countryside Day is one of the leading events of its kind in the UK and for most of the children is a highlight in their educational calendar.
The day is organised by a small volunteer committee with one part-time member of staff and it is a real community event.
All the 60 exhibitors and stewards (approximately 250 individuals) give their time free, and enjoy it along with the children. Local businesses who attended did so because they are passionate about teaching children about food production.
Ruth Oldfield, event manager for the first time this year, said: “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.”
For more about the Society and the event, visit www.glen daleshow.com