AN UNDERGROUND OVERVIEW – A Sponsor's Perspective Of The Agri-Food Careers Event 13 Feb
This February we were delighted to be a sponsor for the new Agri-Food Careers Event which was organised by the LAS Education team at the Lincolnshire Showground. The Epic Centre and EXO Centre provided the ideal location, with plenty of space for the 30 exhibitors and for over 700 students to disperse around the stands.
We were in the EPIC Centre, with a good mix of other local firms and alongside colleagues from our sister company B-hive Innovations, who were showcasing some of their cutting edge Agri-tech systems. A lot of people were wondering how the massive combine harvester from Ripon Farm Services managed to get into the building and it certainly provided a wow factor to the hall!
The event was all about inspiring and encouraging the next generation to take an interest in the food and farming sectors and opening their eyes to some of the possibilities for future careers: especially important in a county like Lincolnshire where so much of our fresh produce is grown and so many of our staple foods are produced.
It was for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students, so there was quite a range of levels of readiness to consider future employment options, but it was perfect at providing food for thought. There was so much for the students to see and do in the 4 or so hours they were there - from seeing how it feels to sit in a tractor to learning valuable CV writing skills.
We chose to showcase potatoes on our stand – looking at how well they measure up against other veg in terms of nutrients. Getting hands-on with the ‘feely boxes’ never fails to pique interest – with kids of all ages – and it’s a great way to get a discussion going about different foods. Our activity was based around emphasising the point that you need a mix of different foods in your diet to get a good range of vitamins and minerals and that potatoes are an important part of a healthy balanced diet.
We were also interested to find out more about what this generation eats (or doesn’t eat) so we got them to fill out a very brief survey on their food preferences and habits. We’re looking forward to sharing the results when we have them.
With the age range from 13 – 18 it wasn’t surprising that there were differences in levels of understanding of healthy eating and nutrition. And it was interesting to see the range of levels of familiarity with different vegetables. Many of the students were unfamiliar with swede (a staple of Lincolnshire fresh produce) and even parsnips (“those white carrot things”) which for us really emphasises the need for better education around food and the importance of events like this one.
Just wanted to finish by saying a massive thank you to the LAS team for such a brilliantly organised and worthwhile event. Hopefully there will be more to come in the future.