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An Inter­view with Katy Pal­las, LEAF Edu­ca­tion Region­al Edu­ca­tion Consultant

LEAF Education’s team of Region­al Edu­ca­tion Con­sul­tants (RECs) play a key role out in the regions work­ing with farm­ers, teach­ers, schools and col­leges as well as local busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives to inspire young peo­ple about food and farm­ing. Katy Pal­las, LEAF Edu­ca­tion REC for the North West shares her thoughts on why Ag Edu­ca­tion mat­ters and why we need to show­case and cel­e­brate success.

LEAF Education’s team of Region­al Edu­ca­tion Con­sul­tants (RECs) play a key role out in the regions work­ing with farm­ers, teach­ers, schools and col­leges as well as local busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives to inspire young peo­ple about food and farm­ing. Katy Pal­las, LEAF Edu­ca­tion REC for the North West shares her thoughts on why Ag Edu­ca­tion mat­ters and why we need to show­case and cel­e­brate success.

What’s the best part of your role as a LEAF Edu­ca­tion Region­al Consultant?

First of all, the vari­ety and then work­ing with so many dif­fer­ent and inter­est­ing peo­ple, whether teach­ers, par­ents or farm­ers. The chil­dren, in par­tic­u­lar, ask such diverse ques­tions. Where does the par­rot live?” stim­u­lat­ed a dis­cus­sion with nurs­ery chil­dren about the dif­fer­ence between farms and zoos. Sec­ondary aged chil­dren can also ask sur­pris­ing ques­tions such as Which cows pro­duce skimmed and which semi-skimmed milk?” There are big and often sur­pris­ing gaps in knowl­edge, and it is our job to help to fill them. When under­stand­ing dawns, it very reward­ing to see, what­ev­er the subject.

Farm vis­its offer a vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties. Some­times chil­dren are ner­vous, they need reas­sur­ance that the loca­tion is safe and can offer a fun and enjoy­able experience.

Why do you think it is so impor­tant for young peo­ple to get clos­er to farm­ing and learn more about where their food comes from? Why does it matter?

It’s impor­tant for their per­son­al under­stand­ing of where their food comes from and how it’s pro­duced. The coun­try­side also offers ben­e­fits to young peo­ple’ health and well­be­ing. Some of the chil­dren we encounter have a lot of access to the out­doors, coun­try­side and farm­ing but the major­i­ty are far removed. It’s part of our job to lessen this dis­crep­an­cy.

Pupils real­ly enjoy their expe­ri­ences on farm! Even those who are labelled bad­ly behaved” in school seem to become dif­fer­ent indi­vid­u­als when they are in the out­doors. Even chil­dren who don’t com­mu­ni­cate in school can often be found talk­ing to the animals!

This year’s Bay­er-LEAF Edu­ca­tion Awards (which have been run­ning since 2006) cel­e­brate the very best peo­ple and projects in Agri­cul­tur­al Edu­ca­tion – why are these awards so important?

The Awards are about pro­mo­tion and cel­e­bra­tion. They shine a light on peo­ple who put in so much effort and have so much pas­sion but rarely seek any pub­lic­i­ty for the amaz­ing work they do. The awards boost people’s con­fi­dence in what they are doing. Award win­ners always appre­ci­ate the recog­ni­tion they receive and thor­ough­ly enjoy the day of the awards. It’s our chance to say thank you for all their hard work which is so vital.

If you would like to become an Award-win­ning ini­tia­tive recog­nised for going the extra mile to share your pas­sion about food and farm­ing, or know some­one who deserves that recog­ni­tion, then you can either apply direct­ly by click­ing here, or nom­i­nate some­one by click­ing here. All forms should then be sent to [email protected]​leafuk.​org by the 26th April 2019.