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NFU Scotland held ‘constructive’ initial discussions with Scotland’s deputy first minister John Swinney as the union looks to promote farming and food education in Scottish schools.
With new legislation on Scotland being a ‘Good Food Nation’ and an education bill coming forward this parliamentary term, NFU Scotland used the discussions to highlight the opportunity to increase understanding of the role of agriculture – whether that is in providing food or in what it delivers for the environment.
At the meeting NFU Scotland representatives discussed with Mr Swinney, who is also cabinet secretary for skills and education, how the farming community can engage and collaborate more with schools and other skills providers – and vice versa.
NFU Scotland vice president Martin Kennedy said: ‘Our discussions with the deputy first minister were very productive.
‘It was encouraging to hear during our discussions that there is currently no barrier to including agriculture and food production within school curriculums. We all accept, however, that more can be done by all parties to reconnect the role of primary food production with topics such as maths, science, engineering and home economics.
‘There is already a wealth of work that is being undertaken by a wide range of actors such as the Royal Highland Educational Trust, LANTRA, Developing Young Workforce, SRUC, and others such as Henry Graham’s Education and Skills Agricultural Champions group. The Skills for Farming group, which NFU Scotland coordinates, is also trying to bring some of this best practice and expertise together.
‘The next stage will be to stitch this together with government priorities, particularly in light of new, upcoming legislation on education and the Good Food Nation. We hope to continue to work with all stakeholders and the Scottish Government to take some of this very positive work forward.’
John Swinney MSP, left, with Aberfeldy farmer Sandy Thomson and Martin Kennedy at the talks. no_a11NFUSswinney01