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LEAF Education is calling on more farmers to get involved with its Farmer Time scheme, developed to inspire schoolchildren about farming, food production and the environment.

Its plea follows the publication of the latest Farmer Time Impacts Report today (15 October), which reveals – since the initiative began in 2016 – it has connected 742 teachers and over 22,500 children with farmers.

LEAF Education says Farmer Time allows pupils to gain a real time, year-round understanding of farming and the food supply chain. Such is its growing success that over 230 teachers, responsible for nearly 7,000 children, are now waiting to be paired with farmers.

Director of LEAF Education and public engagement, Carl Edwards said: “It is never too early to start talking to children about farming, to spark their interest, to ignite their sense of wonder and to share the realities of how their food is produced. Farmer Time is transforming the way we connect our future generations with farming and empowering them to make responsible, healthy, sustainable food choices and opening their eyes to the many exciting career opportunities available in the land-based sector.

“Our latest impacts report shows the ever-increasing reach of Farmer Time with 100 per cent of farmers and teachers telling us they enjoy the experience and would recommend it to others. But we urgently need more farmers to sign up. We have over 200 schools – that’s over 6,000 children – waiting to learn more about our industry! We are encouraging any farmer, who can spare twenty minutes a fortnight and has good internet connection, to be part of something truly amazing.”

Cambridgeshire farmer, Tom Martin, who founded Farmer Time, says farmers should give it a go: “Farmer Time is a fantastic way to reach out to the consumers of tomorrow, to talk to them about what you do, how farming impacts their everyday lives and why it mat-ers. Any farmer can take part – it doesn’t cost anything, just your time and willingness to reach out.'

Sponsored by Sainsbury’s, Strutt & Parker and G’s, Farmer Time is an initiative founded by Tom Martin of Village Farm and coordinated by LEAF Education.

LEAF Education is the education arm of sustainable farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming). LEAF works with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers to 'inspire and enable sustainable farming that is prosperous, enriches the environment and engages local communities'.