Rhug Estate’s educational farm tours have been shortlisted in the Education Initiative category of the Food and Drink Federation Awards 2021, with the winners being announced next month.

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Education Initiative Award recognises the positive work of companies with schools and colleges to encourage interest in food and drink manufacturing and help to facilitate employment opportunities for young people. Nominations could be for one-off events, ongoing contributions to lessons, schemes to experience the world of work or develop employability skills.

Amongst those shortlisted for the Education Initiative Award, with Rhug Estate’s farm tours, are Britvic PLC for encouraging the next generation to pursue careers in STEM; Chartwells Independents for their Adventurous Food Book; the Chilled Food Association for their Chilled Education initiative; Coca-Cola Europacific partners and UK Youth for its Reach Up programme and REHIS / FSS Secondary Schools Initiative.

Lord Newborough, Owner of Rhug Estate said, “I am truly honoured that our farm tours have been chosen to be shortlisted for this Award by the Food and Drink Federation. I believe it is part of our job as custodians of this countryside to impart the knowledge we have to the next generation. I feel it is vitally important to spread the word about how important organic farming is to providing a better, more sustainable and healthy future. I am horrified by newspaper articles that state children do not know where their food comes from. I want future generations to know that the way we farm reduces the carbon in the atmosphere and reduces the effects of global warming.”

Lord Newborough has been welcoming groups to visit and tour the organic farm for many years. Educational groups of all ages are welcome from Methrin (pre-school) to U3A (University of the Third Age). A tour of the farm fits into all levels of the curriculum. Student vets are also welcomed on the farm and agricultural college groups are invited back year after year. Rhug also has groups of chefs and fellow farmers that come to tour the organic farm.

The tours can be an eye-opener as to how removed consumers are from the production of the food they eat. The level of knowledge can vary vastly. A regular question involves wanting to know the differences between the bison on the farm and buffalo and why can’t bison produce milk. Then there are the children who sadly think their meat comes from the supermarket and do not realise how eggs are produced.

Rhug Estate’s Farm Manager, Gareth Jones, takes almost every group around the farm and no matter how much knowledge the groups arrive with he has a gentle way of explaining food production whether he is talking to famous chefs or primary school pupils.

The award-winning writer, broadcaster and journalist, Jay Rayner, will host the Food and Drink Federation’s Awards Ceremony on Thursday 16 September at the Royal Lancaster, London, when all the award category winners will be announced.

Now that Wales is at Alert Level Zero Rhug Estate hopes to be able to start providing education tours of the organic farm once again in the near future.

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