Attending the seventh annual Kids Country Food and Farming Day at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, was former JLS band member, JB Gill, who now stars in CBeebies’ farming show, Down on the Farm and Channel 5’s hit Springtime On The Farm.
JB was keen to engage with the 3,500+ key stage one and two children from 53 schools: “I am really passionate about not only connecting children with food, farming and the environment, but also in helping these children see the future careers they can find in farming.
“This is my first time at the Food and Farming Day, but I have already seen how vital and unique it is in communicating with the next generation, not only to have more care and understanding for where their food comes from as consumers, but also to really consider the agricultural industry as a potential future employer.
“Farming isn’t just about driving the tractors and moving sheep: it’s the technology and engineering that design new combine harvesters, the scientists creating new veterinary medications, and the chefs that know the value of seasonal produce. Showing children these future options is equally as important as making sure that they have an understanding of how their food is produced.”
JB also had the important task of judging the highly contested ‘Design A Farm’ competition, with Lottie from Barnack CE Primary School, near Stamford, winning first place in the Key Stage 1 entries, and Eros from Rushmoor School, Bedford, scooping first prize for Key Stage 2.
Praising the entrants, JB said: “This was a really hard competition to judge, there was so much attention to detail on all the entries, and a few ideas I might pinch to take home! In the end, it really came down to Lottie and Eros’ entries, which stood out for the effort they had put into creating the design, as well as the innovative and environmentally friendly designs they had planned. A huge well done to everyone that took part!”
Sandra Lauridsen, Education Manager for Kids Country, The East of England Agricultural Society’s education arm, said: “We are so grateful to JB for giving up his time to be with us today. As a young man who entered farming with very little knowledge of the industry, he is ideal to engage with the children about food and farming. Kids Country is all about communicating with children, not just as consumers of farming produce, but as JB has said, as children that will go on to lead the agricultural industry in ways that they didn’t even know where possible until today.”
Sandra continued: “A huge thank you to all of our volunteers, exhibitors, and also sponsors, who have given so much time and resources to making today happen. Today brings food, farming and the countryside into the line of sight of thousands of children – it’s an invaluable and unique day whilst also offering teachers an opportunity to teach and demonstrate elements of their curriculum in a totally different way.”