The Whiteford Agricultural School in north-west England is offering courses to teach people how to grow vegetables and herbs without pesticides.
The courses are being offered to students from primary to tertiary level, as part of a wider scheme to help farmers and growers cope with a changing climate.
The Whiteford Schools said it was the first time it had taught such a course in a non-pesticide-based environment.
It is the first course of its kind to be offered in a UK school and has the potential to give a lot of people the tools to become more successful growers, said Richard O’Brien, head of marketing for the school.
“If we can help people learn how to manage their environment in a way that they can cope with that change, that can make a huge difference in the lives of people around the world,” he said.
“It will enable people to start to see that we are part of the solutions rather than just the symptoms.”
We’re doing this because it’s so important to us and it’s also a way to educate people about how the farming world is changing.
“The farming industry is changing and it is affecting the agricultural sector as a whole.”
There are more people growing vegetables and more people producing food, and we want to educate them on how to take part in that change.
“O’Brien said the Whiteford school was trying to change the landscape of agriculture.”
What we’re doing is giving people the opportunity to develop a more sustainable way of doing things and we are hoping that we can give people some tools to grow what they want to grow.”‘
We’ve just been told we don’t need pesticides’The courses will cover things such as water, soil, irrigation, fertilisers, and pest control.”
For the past 30 years, there has been a lot more research and work done into how farmers are managing their environment,” said David Leeming, managing director of the Whitefield Schools.”
That has changed with a lot less and we’ve just had to look at what’s available and what’s the best way to do it.
“Mr Leeming said the schools aim to have at least 20 courses offered in each of the five primary grades this year, with plans to increase the number of courses as the climate improves.”
Every year we look at the landscape and what is best for farmers,” he explained.”
I’m really pleased that we’ve seen the market take notice of that and the school is helping to bring it back to where it was 20 years ago.
“Mr O’Brian said the courses would be offered at schools in both the north and south of England, with the primary grades in England and Wales being the most popular.”
To be honest, we’ve been told that we don (have to) get pesticide on our crops, and that is a real worry, so we’ve come to terms with that,” he added.”
At the moment we are just doing what we are supposed to do and that’s grow the crop and keep the soil and not use pesticides.
“People have been taught to farm in this way for a long time and they are learning to do things differently and it can be very difficult to get used to it.”
Opinion: Will pesticides save us from climate change?
By the end of this year’s crop year, the Whitefields will be offering at least two more courses for primary school pupils.