The Food and Farming Discovery Trust
This had come through the privilege of being a trustee of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) from 2014 to 2020. A key charitable object of the RNAA is education, and the decision was taken in 2016 to form an embedded but independent charity, the Food and Farming Discovery Trust (FFDT).
The FFDT aims to inform and inspire people of all ages about land-based industries. There are different levels of engagement to deal with changing ages, levels of expertise and seasons. However, few would deny that humanity’s relationship with the environment is the single biggest challenge of the 21st century. Issues such as sustainable, secure food production and water security are key elements of the climate emergency.
In response, the FFDT seeks to connect the farming, scientific and education communities, to raise understanding at an individual and societal level. An expert group of trustees oversees the advisory group, a coalition of willing partners that promotes and co-ordinates educational activities about land-based industries, including exploration of careers in the agricultural and technological sectors.
Assistance from the RNAA and generous support from local funders such as The John Innes Foundation, Chadacre Agricultural Trust, The Clan Trust, City College Norwich and The Morley Agricultural Foundation, have created an exciting point in the Trust’s development. Dr Shannon Woodhouse has recently joined from the John Innes Centre as the Trust’s manager.
Early projects include: the highly successful Learn About Livestock initiative, placing ewes and their lambs in primary schools around the county; Conscious Consumers, the development of food choice online resources for secondary school pupils; and the completion of a new digital platform to support our work and project our resources beyond regional boundaries.
Another key current project is the creation of an inspirational, themed Discovery Zone at the 2022 Royal Norfolk Show for the 10,000 school children expected. In particular, a new initiative, On The Map, will allow each school to forge connections with nearby Norfolk agricultural initiatives.
Being involved with the FFDT inspires and educates me constantly. It embodies the vision, practical collaboration and priceless physical and human assets that show off our agricultural county at its best.