TV chefs spark rise in popularity of school farms

The popularity of TV chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is fuelling a rise in the number of schools opening their own farms, according to research. This is from the Telegraph…

Almost 100 schools now grow their own crops and rear cows, sheep, pigs and chickens, with numbers increasing sharply over the last six years.

In many cases, schools even send their own animals to slaughter and put meat and homemade sausages on canteen menus or on sale in school shops.

According to the latest edition of The Good Schools Guide, some 98 schools currently run their own farm – up from 60 in 2006. A further 109 schools are seeking help to follow suit.

Farms have traditionally been associated with independent boarding schools but are becoming increasingly popular among inner-city primaries and secondaries in the state sector, it was claimed.

Janette Wallis, the guide’s senior editor, said the rise has been driven by a combination of factors including the popularity of healthy, home-grown produce championed by TV chefs such as Jamie Oliver, a Government drive on sustainability and a “dollop of austerity chic”.“We’re focusing more on school farms because we see the benefits to pupils of working with animals and the outdoors, especially kids who may struggle with mainstream academic approaches,” she said.

“Schools with farms are increasingly interweaving them into the curriculum, using them to teach almost every subject, from history to maths.”

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