As a result of the urbanization, children in Flanders (Belgium) are losing their connection with nature and agriculture. To prevent this from happening, new collaborations between the agricultural sector and schools are being formed.
A new project called “Boerderleren” was set up, supported by the province of Antwerp, Flanders and the European Union. The goal of this project is for children from primary school to become acquainted with agriculture and to discover new interests and talents. The program consists of farm visits and information on different topics, e.g. soil, manure, water, sustainable agriculture,… It has already been pretested at “Gasthuishoeve Boshoek”, a farm that had some experience with education before. The farm owners look at this experience as a win-win situation, beneficial for the development of the children but also for the farmers, who learn to see the farm through the eyes of the children. Furthermore, farmers who participate in this educational project can receive a compensation for their invested time. In the coming period, the program should be tested at other farms with no prior experience in education. The project started in some municipalities in southern Antwerp but can be expanded to other municipalities in the future. The project will end in June 2022 but the goal is to establish long-term relationships between the agricultural sector and schools. The knowledge and developed materials will also be made available through “Streekvereniging Zuidrand” (an association of municipalities in southern Antwerp) and “Hooibeekhoeve” (a provincial research institute).
Another example of such an initiative is “BinnenBijBoeren-dagen”, a collaboration between “’t Pleckske “, “Plattelandsklassen”, “Landelijke Gilden” and “RURANT”. The initial idea was to bring children from the primary school to farms to get them more familiar with the origin of their food. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, farm visits were not possible. As an alternative, the STEM-box was developed by “plattelandsklassen”. The STEM-box consists of multiple video’s regarding farms and specific production processes. There are also corresponding exercises that the students have to solve.
Sources and more information at
Vilt. (2021). Antwerpse gemeenten willen boerderij-onderwijs voor kinderen. Retrieved from https://vilt.be/nl/nieuws/antwerpse-gemeenten-willen-boerderij-onderwijs-voor-kinderen
Vilt. (2021). #CoronaCreativiteit: Plattelandsklassen lanceert kant-en-klaar STEM-lespakket. Retrieved from https://vilt.be/nl/nieuws/coronacreativiteit-plattelandsklassen-lanceert-kant-en-klaar-stem-lespakket