Education, education, education at the School Farm and Country Fairby Robert Gooch May 04 2017
Helping consumers learn all about wild game and its provenance, traceability and preparation, is a massively important part of what we do at the Wild Meat Company. Education plays a vital role in getting people to understand the ethical and nutritional benefits associated with sourcing food that has been neither intensively reared, not industrially killed.
What better place to start getting the message across than at grassroots level and in front of over 4000 school children, all eager and excited to experience a taste of the countryside and rural industry. That’s just what we did last month, when Robert (our MD) and Jack (one of our butchers) visited the School Farm and Country Fair at Trinity Park, near Ipswich, where for one day, the countryside comes to town and bus loads of Key Stage 1 and 2 Suffolk pupils, gather to get a unique glimpse into the world of local food production.
Of course, all areas of farming and its allied industries are represented there, but for us it’s an ideal opportunity to showcase what do with wild game and most importantly, a chance to display some of the products in both their raw and prepared forms.
For a 10-year old town-dwelling child, who might have never even experienced a day out in the countryside, the thought of being exposed to animals and practices that might appear totally alien, may seem a little daunting or even frightening. But was it actually? We think not. Being able to witness the sheer excitement and eagerness that the literally, throngs of children brought to our stand was awe-inspiring at the least and incredibly gratifying.
We set out our stall to display both furred and feathered game with an impressive line up of everything we could get our hands on, from rabbit, hare and pigeon to venison, pheasant, partridge and duck. Each animal was arranged so that the children could not only inspect at close quarters but also touch their feathers and pelts, the tactile part of the exercise being an intriguing and beguiling way of teaching youngsters about native wild species, helping to dispel any myth or misconception that may have arisen in their minds by a misinformed media.
Behind each raw example, we arranged its finally butchered and dressed product, all prepped and ready for sale, giving a true “field to fork” picture of the animal’s journey and a great point of questioning for both children and their teachers. At these sort of events you often realise that educating people on rural matters is often just as important for the staff!
Touching, feeling, pointing, staring and chatting, the children queued in front of our display. It was an absolute delight to be able to satisfy these inquisitive young souls and enforce the reality of wild meat production in a tangible way, that would remain etched on their minds, hopefully enough for them to remember and enthuse about, when questioned later.
Countryside education has never been more important. With a burgeoning urban population and a growing need to source healthy and ethically-reared protein, our message is becoming increasingly critical. Our day at the School Farm and Country Fair has proved, that with the right audience it’s a very achievable goal and incredibly satisfying!