Farms for City Children was founded by children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Clare at Nethercott Farm in Devon in 1976. The charity’s aim is to enrich the lives of children from urban areas, who may not know where their food comes from and have limited opportunities to explore the outdoor world, by giving them the chance to spend a week living and working on a real farm in the heart of the countryside. It’s an intense, ‘learning through doing’ experience of a different life and 75,000 children have taken part since it started.
The three farms offer a warm, friendly environment, plentiful home cooking and comfortable accommodation, including classroom, library, quiet room and games room. The jobs on the farm are rotated so that everyone gets at least two goes at activities such as feeding livestock, mucking out, grooming horses and donkeys, assisting at milking time and tending the kitchen gardens – as well as more seasonal tasks like apple-pressing and lambing! The children learn about the food chain, caring for animals and the land and the importance of teamwork; the overall experience has an amazing impact on their self-esteem and outlook on life.