We’re celebrating after Laurus Ryecroft won a prestigious environmental award, beating schools from all over the country and getting mentioned in the press!

In a fiercely contested competition, Laurus Ryecroft won the title of Food, Farming and Natural Environment School of the Year 2021. The national competition, run by leading education organisation, LEAF Education in collaboration with Coleg Cambria in Wrexham, north Wales, aims to shine a light on sustainable farming and food production through on-farm experiences for young people. 

The weekend, which took place at the college, saw students and staff work with LEAF Education staff, college lecturers, the farm manager and industry experts to debate the motion: “Farming can become carbon neutral in the future”. Students discussed this complex issue in detail and used their understanding and knowledge to present an evidence-based response to the hypothesis, which they presented to a panel of judges. The presentations were delivered with a clear passion and support for the farming industry. They also demonstrated the grasp the students had gained of the issues and challenges facing the agriculture industry in its journey to net zero by 2040. Students took part in hands on activities such as milking, tractor driving, habitat management, woodland management, lamb selection and soil analysis – all linked to efficient farm practices, including renewable energy. 

LEAF Education Director of Education and Public Engagement, Carl Edwards, said: “Each school was more than worthy of their place in the final, but it was the group of students from Laurus Ryecroft that stood out the most. We were impressed by how they linked every experience they had to supporting their strong belief that the farming industry can become carbon neutral by 2040. Having had zero experience on farms before, the judges were blown away by how quickly and competently these three young adults understood what our industry is doing to tackle the climate crisis. Congratulations to everyone, not just the winning school but to all those who took part!”

The Food, Farming and Natural Environment School of the Year competition, launched by LEAF Education in 2018, aims to engage and inspire future generations about farming and food production through transformative and meaningful on-farm experiences. It offers young people the chance to experience farming, bring them closer to how their food is produced, raise awareness of the role of farming in combatting climate change and the career opportunities available in the sector. 

Laurus Ryecroft head Martin Vevers, said: “Being involved with this competition has provided our students with opportunities they would not normally experience. To meet with inspirational speakers and to learn about sustainability in an academic and practical way is invaluable for them and us. For us to win just goes to show how much our young people value sustainability in food production and are keen to learn more.” 

Thanks to their win our students appeared in local newspapers as well as national farming publications and websites.