Staffordshire firm aims to ‘bring classroom to the countryside’

Staffordshire pig and poultry producer Packington Free Range is investing in the next generation’s education by launching an education project that works with schools to “bring the classroom to the countryside”.

Packington, run by brothers Rob and Alec Mercer, is providing school trips and doing talks in schools. It said this was because “educating the next generation is vital, not only so that they can appreciate what an exciting and skilled industry farming is, but also so that they can understand where their food comes from and the lengths farmers have to go to ensure environmental sustainability, consistency in the product and high levels of food safety and animal welfare”.

The Mercer brothers are fourth-generation farmers, their great-grandfather started farming in 1930 in the heart of rural Staffordshire. The company now supplies free-range pork and chicken to more than 150 butchers around the country, as well as Ocado.

Packington has joined forces with FarmLink, which aims to allow “every child in England and Wales to visit a farm at least once a school year, to gain an appreciation of how food is produced, its impact on the countryside and to recognise the part they can play in shaping the local environment”.

The Staffordshire producers want to give children from the area the chance to learn about farming, food production, land management and conservation on a working farm. The company said: “These children come from all different types of schools – local rural schools, inner city schools and also special needs schools. All of these children will be able to visit a real working farm, which is something that they may never have experienced before. Packington Free Range aim to reach 4,000 children in their first year of running the education project, with a long-term goal of reaching 20,000 a year.”

Packington Free Range said it believed passionately in provenance, sustainable and ethical farming, which in turn will help to continue to farm the land for the next generations to come. It told that it produces healthy, happy animals, by allowing plenty of space to roam, fresh bedding, high-quality food and a plentiful supply of water.

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