As outlined in the previous LEAF Education e-newsletter, we have embarked upon an extensive programme of pioneering research to encourage better teenager engagement. We want the farming industry to find out from young people how food and farming can become more relevant to the next generation, addressing the issues they care about and igniting their interest in the sector’s career opportunities.
The outcomes of the research will help shape new strategies and priorities for the food and farming industry to more effectively connect with young people.
Teenager research revealed:
• 35% of young people would consider a career in food and farming, but only 22% have received relevant careers information.
• 65% would look online and 20% on social media to find out more about farming. • 35% believe strongly that science and innovation will underpin a sustainable future for farming 41% strongly agreed that young people should be more interested in how food is produced and where food comes from.
• 42% said that short (30 second) videos were the preferred choice for content.
The research revealed that despite teenagers feeling disconnected to farming and having limited understanding of what it delivers, many of today’s young people are interested in how their food is produced and the work farmers do. In particular, they hold strong views around the environmental impact of farming and, furthermore, they would like to know more about career opportunities available in the sector. Not surprisingly, when it comes to finding out more, teenagers are turning to social media, specifically, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube as their preferred channels and still identify with ‘older’ food celebrities, such as Jamie Oliver, but there is also an increase in young bloggers, vloggers and chefs.
Following the outcomes of the research programme, a new road-map for teenager outreach is being drawn up by LEAF Education in consultation with the agri-food industry, based on five key priority themes:
• Outdoor Inspiration
• Community Hub
• Fit for Life
• Farming Futures and Careers
• Let’s Connect
Carl Edwards, Director, LEAF Education explained: “Engaging young people in farming and food production is vital to the future of the agricultural industry as well as for their own health and wellbeing. We know that strengthening that connection can help promote healthier lifestyles and nurture a lifelong interest in the natural world, helping to build a sense of their own personal responsibility in protecting it.