School Farms Network Education Alliance conference returns to the RAU

Photo shows Julie Walkling, Director for Students at the RAU presenting last year’s (2018) School Farms Network award for Community Impact to Alexandra Jamieson, a teacher at Priestlands School
School Farm Network

A network that supports farming within schools and promotes land-based careers to young people will again host its annual conference at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

The School Farms Network Education Alliance (SFNEA) is a partnership between the RAU and the School Farms Network (SFN), which now consists of more than 116 school farms across the UK.

The group comes together for the third annual SFNEA conference this week, with the aim of encouraging and inspiring outdoor learning and land-based education in schools and communities.

The conference on 28-29 June, supported by Social Farms and Gardens, brings together land-based industry professionals, teachers and advisers who care about helping young people into further and higher education, and then into the industry.

This year’s programme includes a talk from NFU’s John Alpe on their Farmvention initiative and workshops on starting a school farm and using farming to transformthe lives of vulnerable children.

The conference will also host the School Farms Network Awards, an opportunity for schools to showcase their hard work around farming and outdoor learning, judged by a panel drawn from the SFN and the RAU.

Julie Walkling, Director for Students at the RAU said: “Land-based education opportunities and career paths should be clearly understood and available to talented young people from every background. Hosting the SFNEA Conference brings together a diverse range of voices in support of this key area that is strategically important to the UK.”

One of last year’s winners was Priestlands School, in Lymington, which picked up the Community Impact award for its Walled Garden project. Teacher AlexandraJamieson said: “Our young people soaked up the entire experience and gained a clearer insight into the hugely varied world of agriculture, how it has developed in recent years and employment possibilities in the sector.