North Queensland kids get a taste for agriculture

16 August 2021

The CQUniversity Agri-tech Education and Extension team hit the road again' travelling to North Queensland as part of the Kids to Farm project delivered in collaboration with the AgForce Schools to Industry Partnership Program and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture' Water and the Environment.

The three-week roadshow travelled to Mackay' Townsville and Charters Towers' to increase primary school aged children's understanding of agriculture and its importance to Australia's way of life.

The program engaged students in food and fibre production through the delivery of interactive activities and farm visits to meet farmers and industry professionals.

Aimee Snowden from CQUniversity led the program with the aim to inspire a new generation by highlighting the diverse industry of their local area' and the array of careers on offer' and the significance of agriculture to Australia and the world.

Students participated in interactive sugarcane' prawn and mango activities focused on agricultural technology and innovation' and visited local farms.

"Our Kids to Farms roadshow visited 12 schools in Northern Queensland from Forrest Beach in the north' North Eton in the south' and Charters Towers in the west over three weeks'" Ms Snowden said.

"We worked with over 600 students from prep to year six' allowing students to explore ag tech and local food production through hands on activities' before heading to a local farm. Farm visits included cattle stations' cane farms and research stations' mango orchards and packing sheds' sorghum harvesting' and a school visit from a prawn farm.

"The students really engaged with the activities and loved the farm visits."

Greg and Donna Ashton from Oasis Mangoes in Bowen were excited to welcome students from Merinda State School to their farm for the first time.

"We think it is important for the kids to know where their food comes from and…get more interested in [careers in agriculture]'" Mr Ashton said.

Kirra Roberts' P-2 teacher at Merinda State School said the students thoroughly enjoyed the day.

"It was an awesome hands-on learning experience'" Ms Roberts said.

"Lots of kids don't necessarily know that side of ag' and it was good to get exposure to mango farming and technology through fun and interactive activities.

"The kids had a good time taste-testing the fruit and testing the sugar content with [refractometers]' and exploring mangoes farming."

Ms Snowden explained that many students may have driven past cane fields but not known what was being grown' or wondered about how mangoes are harvested and graded but have never had anyone explain these processes to them.

The Kids to Farms program takes the learning from the classroom to the paddock to allow young people to fully understand how food arrives on their plate.