Two of the leading farming and food educational organisations have announced they propose to merge to drive efficiencies and a strengthened joint education strategy.
Leaf (Linking Environment and Farming) will join Face (Farming and Countryside Education), the leading educational charity working with schools to help young people understand the connection between farming and their daily lives.
Leaf works to inspire and enable sustainable farming, through programmes such as Integrated Farm Management, the Leaf Marque on sustainably farmed products, and Open Farm Sunday – the farming industry’s annual open day.
Leaf chief executive Caroline Drummond told Farmers Weekly the proposal was a fantastic opportunity to maximise the educational focus of Face by combining it with the public engagement skills of Leaf.
The two organisations have already worked together on projects such as Countryside Classroom and Leaf’s Open Farm School Days.
Ms Drummond said the proposed merger would send a strong signal to the industry on the importance of organisations working together to maximise their individual potential.
“The industry has a lot to be proud of and there are many opportunities for schools to understand more about farming, nature and food production,” she added.
Over the coming weeks, the two organisations will draw up a five-year strategy, which will focus on building on the strength of collaboration already established around the Face Countryside Classroom programme, and also looking at new and innovative approaches to strengthen the farming offer in schools.
Ms Drummond said an education strategy board will be established to drive the educational focus between the two organisations.
Achieving broader public engagement by building on the success of Open Farm Sunday and Farm School Days will also be a key priority for the two organisations.
Ms Drummond said: “There could not be a more important time than now for us to make the case as an industry of what farmers are delivering in terms of a productivity, but also sustainability and the whole area focus around nature and the environment; that’s the real opportunity.”
It is expected that subject to the necessary contract, due diligence and legal requirements, the agreement will be signed during summer 2017. The two organisations will maintain their separate identities.