Published Wednesday, 14th May 2014 in Oatridge Campus news
Over 3,000 visitors flocked to the Rural Connect Farm Open Day hosted recently at SRUC’s Oatridge Campus. Organisers were delighted to see such a large number on the day, twice as many as last year.
The event was a huge success with the visitors getting up close to modern farming, and learning from the students themselves.
The aim of the event was to highlight modern farming, and to show how food really gets from farm to fork. The day was full of fun activities and demonstrations with a serious message behind them about supporting local agriculture and food producers. Careers in the rural sector were also highlighted by SRUC throughout the day, with student demonstrations showing what skills are taught in various courses.
The lambs were very popular with all ages, and both the vintage and modern machinery proved a hit. Demonstrations such as farriery, horse logging and sheep dog trials showed the range of skills in modern rural industries, whilst visitors had the opportunity to get hands on with Charlotte the milking cow, kindly supplied by the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).
Despite a few rain showers, the thousands of visitors explored the farm, the livestock and machinery, with both young and old queuing for their chance to sit on a tractor! For those looking for a more leisurely way to get around, the trailer rides provided a perfect opportunity to sit back and relax, while students commentated on what was going on in the fields.
The student helpers were fantastic ambassadors for SRUC and their contributions were much appreciated. Stella Campbell from Tranent, East Lothian, said: “There was lots to see and the enthusiasm of the 3rd year students on the tractor rides was very impressive, I learned loads during the trip including that the perfect length of grass for cows to chew is 4 inches.”
There were a range of stalls from local and national organisations promoting their work and highlighting the many ways to get involved in the rural environment. Visitors also had a chance to sample and purchase local produce ranging from local honey, venison and even buffalo! This addition of a mini farmers' market was well received, and gave visitors an opportunity to appreciate the range of local producers.
The day was a great success, with positive feedback from both visitors and staff. Project worker Jemma Black, who organised the day, said: “It was fantastic seeing so many visitors of all ages on the farm enjoying the day, and more importantly learning from the day. The aim of the event was to highlight local agriculture and local produce and I think we did that in a really fun and interesting way.”
All photos from the day are available on the Rural Connect website where you will also find listings of future Rural Connect events.
Photo caption: Kirsten Duncan, 3.5 years, cuddling a lamb.
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