Learning about farming in Kelso

A TWO-DAY agricultural education event in Kelso attracted 240 schoolchildren from across the Borders recently.

The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) Scottish Borders Countryside Initiative Food and Farming Event saw pupils from 10 primary schools learn about farming in workshops at Springwood Park.

RHET Borders project coordinator Lesley Mason said: “It was great fun for not only the pupils attending, but all the volunteers who gave up their time to teach the children. It’s hard to say what the pupils enjoyed best, as they were enthusiastic all day, thinking up a whole variety of questions for the experts.

“The butchery session was hugely popular, and Ross Gillie from Lees Butchers was great at showing the pupils how to cut up a lamb carcass. The pupils (and volunteers) enjoyed tasting the fish paté that Seafood Scotland prepared with the help of the pupils.”

And a highlight was perhaps the number of youngsters who tried and found they enjoyed fish which they thought previously they had disliked, she said.

Youngsters learned about wool, fish, meat production and the importance of bees, while farming volunteers taught children about cereals and machinery.

Sponsored by the Scottish Government (Food and Drink Industry Division), the objective was to provide a ‘hands-on’ educational experience for pupils by exposing them to elements of local farming and food production, said Ms Mason.

Minister for learning, science and Scotland’s languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, who attended on Thursday, described the project as a “wonderful initiative”, adding: “Supportive of Curriculum for Excellence, this event will provide pupils with a practical understanding of where their food comes from.”