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Agriculture: Education

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to assist the education of school children in the West Midlands in nature and farming. (150081)

[holding answer 18 July 2007]: My Department is committed to helping all school children in England learn more about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. DEFRA provides approximately £1 million a year in payments to farmers who provide schools with free educational visits to their farms as part of their agri-environment scheme agreements. In addition, in the current financial year, DEFRA will provide £146,000 to support the Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS), which provides training to farmers who provide educational access visits. This amounts to 50 per cent. of the scheme’s funding.

DEFRA has worked closely with the Department for Education and Skills (now the Department for Children, Schools, and Families), the Department of Health, and other stakeholders to support the Year of Food and Farming in education. This is a campaign to promote healthy living by giving children direct experience of food, farming and the countryside. It is an industry-led initiative, fully endorsed by Government, which will run throughout the academic year, September 2007 to July 2008. DEFRA has contributed financial support amounting to £130,000 to develop the programme. In addition, DEFRA has lent a member of staff to the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to work on the initiative.