A revitalised on-line information hub branded Visit My Farm is set to inspire farmers to host more farm visits and encourage teachers to take their children down on the farm.
Educational farm visits are gaining in popularity as the real benefits for children and care groups are increasingly recognised by teachers and carers.
Visit My Farm is a partnership advice hub for farmers hosting educational farm visits and for teachers wanting to find out how to make the most of a farm visit. An upgraded on-line portal for Visit My Farm is being launched at the AIC Conference on the 13th of November by FACE (Farming & Countryside Education) on behalf of the Access To Farms network of organisations.
The refreshed portal has had a comprehensive makeover and utilises up to date software to make all the key information for farmers preparing for farm visits and teachers taking part in visits easily accessible at the click of a mouse or the tap of a tablet. The portal also links to a comprehensive database of farms hosting visits which is being promoted to educational establishments. The database includes a local search facility for teachers and a simple mechanism for uploading farm details. FACE will be running demonstrations of the site at their stand at the AIC Conference. Farmers can try for themselves by visiting www.visitmyfarm.org
Farmers who open their gates to supervised groups help achieve the vital connection between farming and the local community. For many children a farm visit is their introduction to agriculture and the countryside which can spark a life-long interest and understanding. It is a good first step to improve the image of farming amongst young people which can lead some to a career in the industry. Farm visits can also help bring real health and social benefits to visitors of all ages.
The Chief Executive of FACE, Dan Corlett, commented: “Our small project team have worked hard on the upgrade throughout the summer and we are thrilled with the results. The new portal is already receiving very positive feedback from farmers and communicators who have had a sneak preview and we want to bring it to the attention of as many farmers and teachers as possible. The site is aimed at both farmers hosting visits for the first time and old hands wanting to brush up their knowledge and find out about the latest supporting resources. Teachers can look for a farm, plan a visit or research follow up activities.”
The upgrade benefitted from funding from NFU and Natural England and in-kind support from a number of partners in the Access To Farms network.
David Caffall, Chief Executive of AIC, said: “We are delighted to support Visit My Farm and announce the launch of the upgraded portal at this year’s AIC Conference. The site complements the Bright Crop portal for inspiring young people to embark on a career in agriculture. Very often a school visit to a local farm can be the spark that begins a deeper connection with farming and a career in the agricultural sector.”
Geoff Sansome, Land Management director for Natural England, added: “Opening the farm up to groups as an educational resource is a great opportunity for children to experience life on a farm, learn about wildlife, where their food comes from and how the land is managed. The fact that so many children are being offered opportunities to visit farms is a tribute to the efforts that farmers and landowners are making to run educational activities”.
The Visit My Farm project was first developed by FACE, LEAF and Natural England in 2011 on behalf of Access To Farms, a wider partnership of organisations that support farmers hosting educational visits to farms.