Devonshire organic cereal and beef producers Ian and Lyndsay Shears have been named the overall winners in this year’s Bayer/Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) awards, for farmers who reconnect schoolchildren with where their food comes from.
At a winners’ lunch at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London on Friday (5 Sept), the Shears first picked up the “Bringing the Farm to the Classroom” award – “for farms making a valuable contribution to school life away from the farmyard”.
Presented by former chief inspector of schools Sir Mike Tomlinson, the Shears were rewarded for their innovative “seed to loaf road show”, under which they take a mobile bread oven into schools.
The children then get to grind up the wheat – organic wheat from the Shears’ own 118-acre Highfield Farm – and then bake the dough into bread, biscuits and pizzas.
As well as receiving the Farm to Classroom Award, ahead of ten other farms, the Shears also picked up the overall Bayer/FACE 2008 award.
Speaking at the lunch, Sir Mike Tomlinson said that schemes such as this made a real contribution to children’s education, helping them connect with where their food came from.
And he indicated that, following the Year of Food and Farming, there had been a significant increase in the number of farms hosting school visits.
It was explained then that they had developed their roadshow as a way of overcoming the problem many schools find with not being able to afford to take whole classes out on farm visits.
Funded with the backing of a Rural Enterprise Scheme grant and Higher Level Stewardship money, the Shears are able to take their message direct into schools.