Children in the UK are more disconnected than ever from where their food comes from, according to a new survey.
Almost a quarter of 6-to-11 year olds thought that zebras, penguins, giraffes, tigers, elephants and wombats could be found on UK farms.
Around 10 per cent had never been to a farm and the same number of children thought that carrots originally came from a supermarket and not the ground. Over a fifth of the children asked didn’t know what a harvest was.
Traditionally, in the UK children take part in a harvest festival in the autumn which is intended to teach them about the origins of their food. It dates back to the Victorian era with the earliest recorded service in Cornwall in 1843.
“Harvest is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate food with children, to talk about where it comes from and the role that nature plays in keeping us fed,” says Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trust.
This year, however, COVID-19 means that many children will likely miss out on the opportunity to know more about the natural world that produces their food.
First ever online harvest festival
In an attempt to bridge the gap left by the pandemic, The Wildlife Trust, global environmental education programme Eco-Schools and Jordans Cereals are hosting the first-ever online version of the yearly event.
“Nature is under threat from loss of habitat and climate change,” Bennett adds.
“Our goal is for Harvest Festival LIVE to celebrate biodiversity and explain why it is more important than ever to protect our land in ways that allow wildlife to thrive.”
Harvest Festival Live will take place at 10 am BST October 9 and be hosted by former JLS member and now farmer, JB Gill. It will feature footage from farms championing nature-friendly farming and participation from children and teachers across the UK.
“As a farmer myself, I know all too well how much work goes into growing and producing food, and the importance of farming in harmony with nature,” Gill says.
“The annual Harvest celebration is a brilliant opportunity to teach children where their food comes from, and the journey it makes from farm to fork.
“My own children have the privilege of growing up on our family farm surrounded by animals, and I hope this event will convey some of the wonder and joy they experience when they are immersed in nature.”