Fonterra farmers in the Tasman region are hanging up their milking aprons and getting out the gardening gloves to teach local kids about life on a dairy farm during the winter months.
Celebrating the launch of Fonterra Milk for Schools in Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and the West Coast, farmers David and Pauline Marshall are hosting students from 12 local schools this morning.
And while daily milking is important, the children will learn that it’s not the only job that takes priority on farm says Mr Marshall.
“It’s fantastic to have the students join us. They were excited about getting stuck in to help make a difference to our farm and the environment,” he says.
“At this time of the year, our 450 cows have dried off and are about to start calving. We taught the children about the New Zealand milk production season and what this means for farmers.”
Mrs Marshall says having so many additional pairs of hands made for quick planting.
“Making real and positive changes in the community is achieved when we all work together. That’s what Fonterra Milk for Schools is all about – Fonterra farmers and staff, and teachers working together for the health of Kiwi kids – and that’s what this morning is all about as well.”
Carly Robinson, Group General Manager Global Co-operative Social Responsibility, who joined the group on farm, says the Co-op is proud to have almost rolled out Fonterra Milk for Schools to the whole of the South Island.
“After piloting the programme in Northland last year, we began rolling it out nationwide last month, starting in Invercargill and working our way north. Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and the West Coast are the final four regions to get the programme in the South Island, so we’re heading to the North Island next,” Ms Robinson says.
So far 423 schools in Northland, Southland, Otago and Canterbury have signed up. The 54 schools in the top of the South Island means almost 500 schools are now taking part.
Gerald Baldwin, Principal of Brightwater School, says the kids have been looking forward to visiting the farm.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about where the milk they’ll be drinking every day comes from, as well as the importance of caring for the environment.
“We’re really excited to start the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme in our school and today’s event was an added bonus that presented an excellent educational experience,” says Mr Baldwin.