Two-in-five children have never heard a cow moo or run through farmland, despite 70 per cent of UK land being agricultural.
This was according to The Country Trust, which works with farm hosts in England and Wales as part of its Food Discovery Programme.
The charity found more than half of the 1,422 children in the scheme classed as from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’ had never met a farmer.
The Country Trust chief executive Jill Attenborough said: “With rising rates of obesity and mental health problems among children, it has never been more important for the next generation to understand where their food comes from, the beauty of our countryside and our responsibility to the environment.”
The research found there was an increase in the percentage of students who struggled to engage in the classroom – up from 86 per cent to 93 per cent last year – but that the farm was ‘a stimulating place to be’.
Children on farms were also found to have more opportunity to develop and display non-cognitive skills, to experience ‘patience, wonder and success’, and to build resilience and overcome stress.