FARMING and environment education organisation, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), has recorded a five-fold increase in the number of young people it has worked with over the past year.

In the last academic year, LEAF Education has directly engaged with 74,044 students, aged between four and 18 years, across 63,000 hours, spreading its message about environmentally sustainable agriculture – and raising awareness of the many varied and exciting career opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Read more: LEAF: Forging links with the future generation via Farmer Time

Reporting on the impact of specific projects, the organisation noted that more than 36% of students who had participated in its National Food, Farming and Environment Competition went on to study at land-based colleges. Farming Fortnight, which returned for a third year, saw more than 208,000 views of its resources and 3335 downloads of its resources from the Countryside Classroom website, while the LEAF Education Regional Education Consultants (RECs) trained 1017 teachers across 1950 hours, with 100% of teachers saying they enjoyed the experience and would recommend LEAF Education CPD sessions to colleagues.

As well as this, LEAF Education was a lead partner in a pioneering initiative for trainee healthcare professionals (Sustainable Healthcare for our Future), to increase their understanding of more sustainable farming and nutrition. Sixty-three trainee medics participated in two virtual and on-farm training workshops, with 100% reporting that the training had increased their understanding of the connections between health and food production.

LEAF Education director, Carl Edwards, explained: “Farming provides an incredibly exciting way to tap into young people’s growing interest in more sustainable diets and climate change. Working with teachers, students and farmers at a grass roots level, we are seeing a significant increase in the demand for our services. Learning how more sustainable food production and maintenance and enhancement of the environment go hand in hand, is critical in order to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills to help achieve net zero ambitions.

"The achievements outlined in this report show the impacts of taking young people out of the classroom and applying learning to real life situations, through hands-on experiential opportunities. Overwhelmingly, the message of this report is one of transformation and positive change."

He continued: "As a leading farming education organisation, we are incredibly proud to hold such a critical role in educating the consumers of the future about where their food comes from, the people that produce it and more sustainable diets.”

In addition to working with young people, LEAF Education also provides farmers with networking opportunities, resources and training on working with schools. This year, RECs have supported 167 farmers over 400 hours delivering a programme of face-to-face and online training courses. Find out more here: