Food and Farm­ing Fort­night in the Library

For two weeks in April, the farm came to Wincanton Library. LEAF Education South West Consultant Debbie Hicks ran half day sessions on a range of farming topics.

A Biodiversity on the Farm morning was spent identifying hedgerow trees and shrubs, finding out about the animals that live in them and discussing how important our hedgerows are as habitats and wildlife corridors. Lichens were observed and modelled, as we considered their role as air quality indicators as well as beautiful and curious inhabitants of the farm.

Another day focused on the key role that soil has on a farm. We looked at the structure of soil, made soil profiles and examined some of the animals that live there. We identified some common earthworm species and discussed how earthworms contribute to our soil health. Finally we made sustainable pots, using newspaper and learned how to sow seeds to take away and grow at school.

One session began with the well known Little Red Hen story. Children took on different roles from the story as we read it. Then we simulated all the different parts of a combine harvester, before grinding some of the wheat grains to make flour. We discussed how wheat is grown and used, then finished the session by making corn dollies.

We spent one morning looking at livestock on the farm. After considering the tupping, lambing and shearing of the sheep farming year, we made puppets out of real sheep fleece. We discussed dairy farming and the journey from grass to glass, finishing with a look at poultry farming, complete with live chicks.

This was an innovative event attracting a completely new audience comprising children and their families during a school holiday.