Pupils from Dalmellington Primary School learnt how to feed lambs
Pupils from Dalmellington Primary School learnt how to feed lambs

Show the next generation how farming works

Hundreds of Scottish school children have been learning about the significance of farming.

The youngsters from across Ayrshire visited Dumfries House, near Cumnock, as part of The Prince’s Foundation inaugural Festival of Farming event.

The festival, believed to be the first of its kind in Ayrshire, was organised to ignite interest in farming among primary school pupils through a series of interactive workshops run by The Royal Highland Education Trust at the estate’s Valentin’s Education Farm.

Pupils in attendance were introduced to rare animal breeds and were given the opportunity to feed lambs, learn how to make butter, take part in chick workshops, taste organic food, and learn about farming practices and the importance of preservation.

Pupils from Dalmellington Primary School learnt how to feed lambs

Jacqueline Farrell, director of education at The Prince’s Foundation, explained: ‘Hundreds of school pupils are given the opportunity to visit Valentin’s Education Farm every month to observe and engage with animals whilst enjoying a genuine farm-to-fork experience.

‘We decided to host a Festival of Farming to further connect younger generations to the provenance of food and wool, as well as to introduce local teachers to the farm-based education programmes we offer here at Dumfries House on a year-round basis.

‘Our guests all had a great time and left feeling more knowledgeable about the importance of farming and preservation. The 360 pupils here have learned so much that they wouldn’t get in a classroom situation: they’ve seen cows being milked, lambs being fed, farriers fitting horses, and meat being carved up by a butcher.

‘You can see that the pupils want to learn more and many of the teachers want to embed these activities into the curriculum now.’

Pupils from Dalmellington Primary School interacting with pigs at the Festival of Farming

Elaine Bryson, the RHET Project Coordinator for Ayrshire and Arran, said: ‘It’s extremely important that children learn where their food comes from, are familiar with the role of the agricultural community and understand the significance of food grown locally and of high quality.

‘There were 20 different activities to choose from at the Festival of Farming: what a great experience for the children of Ayrshire. The pupils enjoyed themselves and learned a great deal.’

Valentin’s Education Farm is located next to a working farm, Home Farm, on the estate near Cumnock, which was saved for the nation by the Prince of Wales in 2007 and is now used to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development, as well as offer training in real-life skills to open up future employment opportunities.

The education farm is home to rare breeds including Castlemilk Moorit sheep, British Landrace and Tamworth pigs, Shetland geese, Scotch Grey and Scotch Dumpy chickens, Pied Crollwitzer turkeys, and three breeds of cattle – Beef Shorthorn, Whitebred Shorthorn, and Vaynol.