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Agricultural Education & Careers

Bayer-LEAF Education Awards: Q&A with previous winners Greatworth Hall Education.

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Rosie Jeffries, one of the team from Greatworth Hall who won the Bayer-LEAF Education Awards 2017 for their incredible education centre through farm-school partnerships. We sat down to find out what the team have been up to since winning the Award, and the impact it has had on their education initiative.

Great to hear from you again Rosie! How has everything been going since you won the Awards in September 2017?

We are really pleased to say that we have engaged with many more schools over the last year and a half. Last summer, we had on average four school visits per week over the summer term and we have been able to take on a new part-time member of staff for the education team to come in and do the odd day with us. We have also finally managed to secure a passenger trailer which is awesome and really helps us get to and from Greatworth School which we have had a growing partnership with over the last four years.

This is brilliant news. Do you think progress made over the past couple of years has been helped by you winning an Award?

Definitely. You won’t be surprised to hear that resourcing an education centre whilst managing an active farm is always a constant challenge. So to now be able to approach various potential sponsors of the centre as an Award-winning education centre makes a massive different to our credibility, and confidence in what we are capable of achieving.

Do you have any particular examples where this has been especially useful?

Plenty of examples show that the smallest gestures can make a positive impact. I approached our local supermarket recently who kindly donated a basket which has been really useful during the visits, and our profile has increased with BBC press coverage and being asked to give talks at local community clubs.

What has your local community made of you being recognised as a best practice education initiative?

What has been really encouraging is that the Award has helped strengthen ties between the other local farms nearby. Farmers will now approach me, asking for advice on how to set up their own educational initiatives and even invite me on-farm to just be part of their visit to see how they can improve and check that they are doing a good job. Trust in my local community has strengthened as a result and it has been really lovely being able to share experiences and help one another raise awareness of food and farming in a practical and supported way.

What led you to apply for the Awards in the first place?

I wanted to know what others were doing in this area, and know whether or not we were doing a good job and going in the right direction! Coming away from the Awards ceremony, I was so encouraged because I realised I wasn’t the only person trying to give farmers and British food and farming a good face. Knowing there are people doing this all over the country and meeting like-minded individuals doing great things was truly wonderful.

That’s so nice to hear that the Awards were an encouragement for you to keep doing what you’re doing! So what would you say to those considering applying for the Awards this year?

I’d say go for it. It can only strengthen your business! Even being shortlisted for an Award completely builds your confidence in what you’re doing. During the application phase, you’re given a rare opportunity to take a step back and look at what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. It re-enthuses and reignites the passion in you about why you chose to run an education initiative in the first place. Winning an award at the end of the day is just a bonus!

There’s nothing more encouraging than being thanked by a local school or educational partner for all the hard work that you put into alongside the already full-time job of farming. Recognition gives you that extra boost that the long hours are worth it in the end.

Thanks Rosie for such helpful advice. A final question for you: what do you think the future holds then for agricultural education in this country?

We are facing a huge battle to get people to recognise the fact that British farmers are good farmers. Educating the public starts with children, and even based on our two open days last year with 700 visitors to our farm it’s clear there are many curious people out there wanting to find out if all the negative stories in the press are true! These days, society is so far removed from what goes on in the farm and anything we can do in the industry to open up and share more of our daily lives the better I think; especially if we can connect that up with the curriculum and help teachers inspire the next generation to support healthy food production.

We need to be intentionally educating rather than letting the general public only know about what is being grown in a field based on them driving past it. I’m a farmer at heart, and spend most of my time farming, but going the extra mile to educate those around us about what we do for a living and why we do it has to become an essential part of what it means to farm now and in the future.


If you know anyone who like Rosie is going that extra mile to raise awareness of of food, farming and countryside, consider nominating them for an Award this year! You can find out more about the award categories and how to nominate here.