By Amelia Woolford - Project Officer
They say it’s the people that make the place and we believe that to be very true here at the Allerton Project. Our original charitable objectives set out by Lord and Lady Allerton, still stand today, one of which is the advancement of public education into different farming methods. The summer is always a busy time for us here with plenty of opportunities to get our farming message out to the general public.
We’ve had school visits from year three’s up to a-levels. It’s a great way to connect our increasingly urbanised population to the countryside. In GWCT’s, Peter Thompson’s latest blog he highlights how the disconnect between town and country continues to grow. In our school visits, children of all ages are able to appreciate where their food comes from and the requirements needed to produce them. We have been working closely with both The Country Trust and FACE to deliver some fantastic days out including scavenger hunts, tree identification, orienteering, bug hunting, food production, sustainable resource usage and much more.
The A-Level biology students from Harrington school spent a day on the farm looking at different ages of woodland across the farm and how trees can be incorporated into a farmed landscape:
“Thank you so much for the hosting our visit yesterday and for sharing much of your farming knowledge and research. Our students got a lot out the tour and really enjoyed their time at Allerton.”
We enjoyed having an older group for the day and are pleased to say the school will be joining us again next year for further visits.
We also took on Open Farm Sunday for another year. We know how important it is to share the farming story and ensure we have public support for British agriculture. The future of UK farming depends upon trust from the general public for what farming delivers in the world today. Open Farm Sunday gives us the opportunity to showcase this and ensure people from all ages and backgrounds engage with food production and the countryside around them. We opened our gates to a couple hundred people to enjoy what Loddington has to offer, showcasing how food, farming and the environment can work together. Thanks to Oakham Young Farmers, Launde Farm Foods, Loddington WI and our farming partners (Oxey Farm) and all our other store holders.
At the Allerton Project we also host a wide range of advisory workshops and educational activities. Often these centre around profitable farming and environmental management. GWCT together with BASIS (Registration) Ltd developed a unique Conservation Management course. The 3-day course is designed for professional advisers working with farmers on a full range of issues such as cross-compliance, environmental management, conservation or Countryside Stewardship agreements. We held the course in June and we’ve now had over 350 people successfully gain the qualification. Look out for a new and revised syllabus which will be launched in the Autumn with our October course.
We try our best to engage with all local groups, this has included Rutland’s Natural History Society, where Allerton’s Jim Egan took them around the farm;
“We all enjoyed it and found it fascinating and very educational – We have been trying to digest all the information we were given ever since! It certainly gave us an insight into farming today, and the possibilities of farming working alongside wildlife, for the benefit of both.”
During June the Allerton Project has seen over 600 visitors. From policy makers to school children. We have been doing our utmost to bridge the gap.
Now our attention turns towards harvest, with the combine wheels well and truly rolling.