Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru | National Assembly for Wales

Y Pwyllgor Newid Hinsawdd, Amgylchedd a Materion Gwledig | Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

Ailfeddwl am fwyd yng Nghymru | Rethinking food in Wales


RFW 13


Ymateb gan : LEAF a FACE Cymru

Evidence from : LEAF and FACE Cymru


1.  Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) is a charity registered in England and Wales that exists to educate children and young people about food, farming and the countryside. In June 2017, it merged with LEAF.  It works with teachers and farmers, and partners with agri-food organisations and businesses.  Since the merger of LEAF and FACE the two charities have developed and strengthened their combined commitment to education and public engagement, see Appendix 1.

2.  Funding for the charities is voluntary through members, corporate and organisational partners, trust funds and individual donors. In Wales, FACE is represented by a part-time Regional Education Consultant, Jane Powell, who was on the staff of Organic Centre Wales until it closed in 2015 and is now independent. This response draws on OCW experience to some extent, but FACE Cymru has always worked across the whole farming sector. See LEAF is represented by Prysor Williams of Bangor University and is well known for its work on Open Farm Sunday.

A vision for food in Wales

3.  Wales is in a unique position to effectively link its farming, education and health agenda to develop an ambitious and integrated programme that delivers thriving farm businesses and the environment, alongside engaged and healthy individuals.

4.  LEAF and FACE’s work can help support this through our technical farming partnerships and network of demonstration farmers and Innovation Centres, including Bangor University and our education work.  In particular:

LEAF and FACE want to see:

·         children and young people flourishing

·         farming and the countryside thriving

·         our planet being well cared-for

5.  We recognize that it is vital that young people have a chance to learn all they can about food and farming so that they are able to shape the future of food by their choices in later life. In particular we think it is important that young people:

·         understand local farming and the food chain;

·         have a genuine respect for the food industry, and see it as an attractive career;

·         know how to grow and cook food.

How to get there

6.  By LEAF and FACE partnering with a range of organizations in Wales we have identified various ways of connecting schools with the food chain. These include:

·         Arranging school visits to farms and factories, and visits into school;

·         Providing training to farmers and others wishing to host school visits, through ;

·         Producing education materials such as Why Farming Matters and our food investigation resources for the Dyfi Biosphere;

·         schoolyard farmers markets (pioneered by the Mid Wales Food and Land Trust)

·         Demonstration school meals featuring local food, to which farmers and food businesses are invited (with OCW)

·         Teacher INSET on growing and cooking (with Careers Wales)

·         Two new Welsh Bacc Enterprise and Employability Challenges at Foundation and Advanced level.

·         Linking with teachers through the Countryside Classroom.

7.  We have also worked on programmes to bring these elements together in a coordinated fashion, notably in Flintshire (with OCW), see Flintshire School Meals Project 2013-2015 and at present in Pembrokeshire in a collaboration with PLANED.

8.  Although our emphasis is on farming, we recognize the importance of school and college gardens in introducing young people to food growing. See the various materials produced by OCW here:

9.  We know that there are many local initiatives across Wales that are doing excellent work along these lines. We think that what is needed to increase their impact might be:

·         Intensive support in certain areas (such as our Pembrokeshire programme) to see what’s possible and share best practice;

·         strategic training (especially of trainee teachers and head teachers) and research;

·         conferences to raise the national profile of the work and develop synergies with other areas of the food system (for instance, to make the link between food industry recruitment problems and food education in schools, or between school gardens and food poverty.

10.  We support collaboration across the whole food system, and involving business, civil society and government in alignment with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, as advocated by the Food Manifesto Wales project.

11.    For more information please contact: Jane Powell, Wales Education Consultant,, tel 07929 857173.


Appendix 1

LEAF and FACE Education and Public Engagement Policy (UK), July 2017

See also: LEAF’s 5-year strategic plan, 2016-2021

The merger between LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) comes at a time when it has never been more important to demonstrate and state the case for British agriculture and the delivery of a more resilient and sustainable farming system.

The merger will enable LEAF to further strengthen and deepen its public engagement activities and allow the FACE team to scale up its work, nationally and regionally, as the interface between farming and schools.  

The two organisations share many common values and have enjoyed a close and collaborative relationship for many years, working on joint projects including Countryside Classroom and LEAF Open Farm School Days.  Now is the chance to scale up the collective activities and scope of both organisations in order to drive forward our ambitious shared Education and Public Engagement Policy to improve education in, and appreciation of, agriculture, the environment and food production.

To follow is the focus of our joint work over the next five years as we bring the two organisations together: 

1.      Working Together

LEAF and FACE Education and Public Engagement

1.1       A shared vision

 …to embed knowledge, understanding and appreciation of farming into everyday life

1.2       Our mission

… to positively influence the next generation about agriculture to support farming, food production and the environment, and enhance the understanding and appreciation of everyone.  We will do this by delivering inspiring and stimulating opportunities, through education and wider public engagement.

1.3       Our priorities

·         to pursue excellence in education in farming, food and the environment

·         to integrate the learning of farming, food and the environment into pupils’ everyday school experience, including the curriculum.

·         to provide the opportunity for every child and young person in the UK to understand, appreciate and learn about the value of farming and food production in their everyday lives and its role in health and well-being, the economy, the environment and rural and urban society.

·         to provide unique and innovative opportunities for everybody to engage with and experience farming.

·         to raise the confidence of all teachers to use farming and the countryside as a medium to educate children and young people and equip them for a complex and dynamic world in which they can flourish

·         to support a thriving British farming and agri-food community that is proactive in education and wider public engagement.


1.4       Strengthening our impact

·         Unite and build upon the capability and strengths of LEAF and FACE

·         Lead a collaborative approach within the farming and education industries to improve education in, and appreciation of, agriculture, the environment and food production.

·         Continually improve the way we monitor and evaluate our impact


1.5       Our commitment and values

·           to maintain and strengthen the capability and capacity of LEAF and FACE for the benefit of the farming industry and wider society, ensuring independence, rigour and balance in the provision of information and support about farming, food and the environment.


1.6       Working with others

·           LEAF and FACE have a long history of working together and both organisations have developed strong strategic alliances within the farming and education sectors. Going forward, we are committed to building on these partnerships and driving a confident and visionary approach which builds understanding and respect for the farming industry through inspiring educational and public engagement activities.  These will include Countryside Classroom, CEVAS, Bayer FACE Awards, LEAF Open Farm Sunday, LEAF Marque, Speak Out, LEAF Virtual Farm Walk, schools’ resources, training, inspiring projects and identifying novel and effective techniques to improve public understanding and trust in food, farming and the environment.


2. Identifying the priorities

Developing a closer partnership between LEAF and FACE will involve building on our respective strengths and identifying new opportunities.  We have mapped these to three key areas highlighted below: education, public engagement and shared areas.  This will form the basis for further discussions with staff, members, teachers and the industry.


2.1              An Integrated Policy


A key benefit of LEAF and FACE working together will be the opportunity to pool expertise, experience and resources.  This will be a powerful catalyst for change.


2.1.1         Strengthening the offer

Through understanding the challenges better and identifying solutions to drive change we will strengthen our joint offer, building on the need to provide information about agriculture and food in schools nationwide to inform the wider community about the crucial role that the farming and the food industry play in the UK economy, our environment and society.


2.1.2         Creating an enabling environment

  Together our joint work in advocacy, advice and culture of collaborative partnership will help create an environment in which learning about food, farming and the environment is valued and effective.  This will include managing multi-partner initiatives, developing a consistent message across the industry, responding to government consultations, meeting and briefing people of influence and consulting and representing our members.

2.1.3         Raising awareness

     We will be actively seeking out opportunities to promote our work through conferences and events, TV, social media, in print, etc.

2.1.4         Mobilising our industry

Encouraging, inspiring and mobilising the whole of the industry to make a difference to how education and public engagement around farming, food and the environment is delivered. In particular, we will look to train, advise and sometimes translate the opportunities and complexities around the whole food, farming and environment story to engender understanding in and respect of farming and what it delivers.

2.1.5         Monitoring impact and change

We will continually monitor and evaluate the impact of our work and commission independent evaluation of our impacts

2.1.6         Working with others

LEAF and FACE are proud of our long-established reputations for partnership working.  What sets us apart is our ability to bring together those with an interest in food, farming and the environment from diverse sectors, views and organisations, including farming, industry, research, retailers and processors, education, environmentalists and government, etc.  We will continue to build on this to make our vision a reality.  Where we are all working together …

… to embed knowledge, understanding and appreciation of farming into everyday life

2.2          Education


The focus of this work will be to build upon FACE’s existing work and partnerships to develop an ambitious and inclusive schools engagement


2.2.1                  Creating a shared vision for the industry


2.2.2                  Building the capacity and capability of the industry

2.2.3                  Stepping up the activity within the industry


2.2.4                  Equipping teachers


2.2.5                  Resources and activities


2.2.6                  Influencing government policy


2.2.7                  Raising awareness


2.2.8                  Developing new and novel techniques to build partnerships and engagement


2.3   Public Engagement


A key part of LEAF’s work has been to raise awareness of farming, food and the environment among the general public.  We recognise that there are substantial opportunities to strengthen and deepen the impact of this work to engage with more people on a more informed level.  Working with our members and sponsors of LEAF Open Farm Sunday we will look to build on these strong foundations.


We will lead a collaborative approach across the industry to improve the public’s understanding of how their food is produced, where it comes from and what farmers do to manage the countryside. We will improve understanding and respect for what farmers deliver, building on our core activities of LEAF Open Farm Sunday, LEAF Open Farm School Days, LEAF Marque, Speak Out, and provision of a range of training and information resources.


2.3.1                  Developing a strategic approach


2.3.2                  LEAF Open Farm Sunday – since 2006 over 2 million people have gone out on farm for Open Farm Sunday


2.3.3                  LEAF Demonstration Network activities


2.3.4                  LEAF Marque – 34% of UK fruit and vegetables is LEAF Marque certified


2.3.5                  Resources & activities


2.3.6                  Developing new and novel techniques to partnerships and engagement