As the Covid-19 lockdown has sent most of us indoors for the foreseeable, school closures have left parents with children to educate and entertain. Essex farmers Guy and Emily French decided to help out by providing regular educational videos on social media to teach children about farm life.
The couple run Foxes Farm Produce, a diversified business that grows thousands of pumpkins, which are supplied across the UK. On their two successful patches in Colchester and Basildon, members of the public can have a fun day out picking their pumpkins directly from the field.
They also grow and retail Christmas trees and host 1.5k multi-lap Farm Mud Runs through their fields and obstacles.
In the first weekly video, Emily gives an explanation and demonstration of drilling spring barley, followed by a series of questions that children can find the answers to on social media using #learnonthefarm.
Emily told Farmers Guide: “We want our videos to be fun but also an opportunity for children to learn something new during these unsettled times. We will be making videos of everything that goes on at the farm from the different machinery, going through the crops, sharing life with animals – all sorts! Any ideas will be welcome too – we want the children to interact with the videos as much as possible.”
In these troubled times for both children and adults, with many left with lots of time on their hands, Emily says it is the “perfect opportunity” to show what farmers do. “We have a nephew and niece who are always keen to hear what we are doing and so the seed was planted,” she explains. “We appreciate more than ever working on the farm in these times and know that everyone is more interested than ever about what farmers do and where their food comes from.”
Panic buying and shortages of some products is also changing perceptions of farmers and food, she adds: “People for the first time ever are understanding that you can’t get food whenever you like and local food suppliers have been key in this crisis – if it helps people shop more locally and eat locally produced food then that would be great!
“Food is so important to our lives and maintains stability – eating as family each day – so I think people will be more interested than ever as to where their food comes from. In our local community we have seen great spirit – everyone looking after everyone and it’s been lovely to see. There is a sense of camaraderie that we are all in this together.”