A former agricultural student is calling on Government to include agriculture in the school curriculum.
Harriet White, formerly of Bishop Burton College and now a freelance farm secretary in Alford, Lincolnshire, said the pressure should not just be focused on getting agriculture into schools as a once a-week independent subject up to the age of 14, but for it to be also considered as a topic in other lessons.
She said: “There is a lot of false information on the internet and it is not fair. It is not about being vegetarian or vegan. People can do what they want. It is about the false information being put out there by activists of these groups.
“It is ruining the respect people have for us.”
Instead of getting into a ‘keyboard debate’, Miss White says there was an alternative way to teach young people about British farming and it should be compulsory in schools up until Year 9.
The industry has so many potential modules it could be tailored and broken down into distinguishable lessons, before the option for students to take up agriculture as a GCSE.
It would be a ‘citizenship-style’ subject taught by farmers to help youngsters ‘learn the truth about food and farming’.
She has since set up an online petition calling for agriculture to be made a compulsory subject up to Year 9 and an option for GCSE.
“What we are never told is how manure is key to soil sustainability and how grassland is helping to remove CO2 from the environment and storing it,” said Miss White.
“How many people who do not grow up in a farming family would choose to go on to do agriculture with no prior experience?
“My aim is not to make everyone a farmer, but to give future generations an amount of knowledge to make educated decisions, while bringing back that respect for British farmers.”