A leading farming charity has warned some children are missing out on learning where their food comes from because of a lack of Government funding.
Samantha Summerfield, regional co-ordinator at Farming and Countryside Education (FACE), called for the Department for Education to set aside cash to ensure all pupils are given the chance to get out on farm at a Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum event.
The demand came as a shocking British Nutrition Foundation survey showed more than one in ten 8-11 year-olds thought pasta comes from an animal and 6 per cent of 14-16 year-olds believed dairy cows lay eggs.
She said: “The provision out there with Food for Life and ourselves is fantastic, but we are third sector-funded at the moment and none of the public sector funding comes from the education system.
“There should be some provision put in the curriculum to understand where food comes from and to make quite patchy coverage into more blanket coverage across the country, because sometimes it is a bit of a lottery.”
Dr Patricia Mucavele, head of nutrition at the Children’s Food Trust, backed the call and said the industry must work with Defra to get funding.
“We need to look for every opportunity to make sure children understand the whole food supply chain and where their food comes from”, she added.
“We must look for those opportunities, not just in terms of the school curriculum, but after school clubs and school provision in the holidays for encouraging them to go to the countryside.”
Dr Mucavele also encouraged all farmers to get involved with existing programmes to boost children’s understanding of the food journey.
“There are lots of schemes out there trying to improve children’s knowledge of food, and as a farmer’s daughter, living on a farm, I would absolutely advocate for them to get involved”, she said.
“Farmers have been instrumental in transforming school food and parents want to know where the food has come from too, so I would urge all the farming community to be involved in their local school.”