Did you know that farming contributes around 67,000 jobs and a GVA of around £1.3 billion to our economy!
And across many rural areas, crofting delivers valuable local benefits, providing jobs and income. A successful crofting sector helps our rural communities to thrive, and it can be at the forefront of developing new and innovative practices which support our progress to net zero carbon.
In recent years, Scotland’s food and drink industry has been one of our strongest economic performers, particularly for our rural economy. In 2014 the Scottish Government published the national food and drink policy Becoming a Good Food Nation. The policy set a new vision for Scotland: that by 2025 Scotland will be “a Good Food Nation, where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day.” Promoting sustainable production of food and drink means farming and manufacturing it in a way that helps to preserve and protect the environment for future generations.
STEM in Scottish Farming – Precision farming in Scotland uses a huge number of technologies to improve our farming practices from mapping fields and soil scanning, to crop protection, variable rate fertilising (which reduces potential for overuse of fertilisers and issues with fertiliser leaching from the soil to fresh water) and even using drones to thermal image crops!
Future of Food & Farming Scottish Context Resources – here are just a few resources that could be used with your pupils as they learn at home.
- The Royal Highland Education Trust aims to provide the opportunity for every child and teacher in Scotland to learn about food, farming and the countryside. Resources for teachers and pupils are updated regularly and include materials with a focus on seasonal food, reducing food waste and climate change.
- SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) – monitor pesticides including impact on wildlife, do seed testing and certification, check seed potatoes to make sure they are free from disease and also certify new varieties and conducts a wide range of activities monitoring wildlife and the environment.
- FDF Scotland: A Future in Food aims to inspire young people to consider the food and drink industry as a career choice.
- The Love Food Hate Waste campaign by Zero Waste Scotland highlights why it is important to reduce food waste and how to get involved. Love Food Hate Waste education pack
- Royal Horticultural Society – Campaign for school gardening. This free online resource is designed to help schools make the most of their school gardens – I’ve also used it to help me with my home gardening!
- REHIS®, a Scottish charity that works to promote the advancement of environmental health through education and training. They have a number of courses for learners of all ages!
- Keep Scotland Beautiful Food and the Environment resources, and related Eco-Schools Scotland topic, supports people towards awareness of and action towards more sustainable food choices and systems.
- Food Standards Scotland works with the education sector in Scotland to provide support and resources that encourage healthy eating, good food hygiene practice and food safety knowledge.
- At Dumfries House in Cumnock, Ayrshire, children have the opportunity to explore food growing, farming and horticulture. Children can plant, nurture, harvest and prepare vegetables in the education garden, and find out more about where food comes from with a visit to the education farm. Parts of the estate are still open for socially distanced visits from families in the area.
- British Nutrition Foundation – The Remote learning area on the Food – a fact of life website is specifically developed to support pupils learning at home. The area comprises approximately 600 ideas, activities and resources around food, cooking, healthy eating, and where food comes from.