A GROUND-BREAKING event has been designed to give young people a better understanding of the links between farming and the food they eat.
Schoolchildren from Kea, Bosvigo and Tregony schools are among those who will all attend the Farm and Country Discovery Day at the Royal Cornwall Showground next week.
Organisers said the fact that many young people, even in a rural county like Cornwall, are ignorant about farming is a worry to government, employers and the food and agricultural industry at large.
The Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association (RCAA) and the Cornwall Food and Farming Group (CFFG) have come together to promote the day, designed to bridge the widening gap between rural reality and public understanding.
Hilary Wood, of CFFG, said the response has been both enthusiastic and eye-opening.
"We have more than 600 children arriving from schools around Cornwall and an impressive range of exhibitors and demonstrators from the farming and food-related industries," she said.
"All too often we are made aware that children do not know where their food comes from – when asked, a common answer is 'the supermarket'.
"It throws up questions on a range of issues, such as healthy eating, an understanding of rural issues and the importance of the farming industry."
RCAA secretary Christopher Riddle believes the Farm and Country Day will initiate a serious discussion and will raise awareness of the core issues.
"In a rural county such as Cornwall, particularly, where farming has always been a way of life for so many, we can see the lack of understanding developing rapidly," he said.
"As an association of well over 200 years' standing, it has always been our aim to promote knowledge and appreciation of farming and this is a modern take on that process, relevant to today."
Aimed at seven to nine-year-olds, the event will give children hands-on experience of farms and farming.
There will be exhibits of farm machinery, dairy and beef cows, sheep, pigs, laying hens, hatching chicks, ducks and ducklings. Food processors and producers will be showing off their skills and children will also have the chance to taste lots of food and drink.
"It's a learning day first and foremost but I think it's also going to be a lot of fun," said Mr Riddle.