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VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) Visit Narrabri


6 December 2016

VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) Visit Narrabri
VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) Visit Narrabri

A group of 25 VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) and their carers from Nurruby Child Care Centre visited the University of Sydney's Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri.

These future farmers, scientists and foodies were treated to an immersive paddock to plate experience taking in many aspects of the research farms.

The children learnt how we 'grow' spaghetti, bread and hommus. Starting in the field, the youngsters saw a variety of very high yielding wheat growing and investigated what it looked like, and when it was ready to be harvested. They also checked out the chickpea plants to find out what makes a chickpea a chickpea.

Next on the agenda and the highlight of the day for the children was a demonstration of a header in action. Stuart McMaster kindly took time out from his busy harvest to show the children his 12 metre wide header. They all climbed into the cab to look at the controls.

VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) Visit Narrabri
VIPs (Very Important Pre-schoolers) Visit Narrabri

Stuart showed and explained to the students how it cuts the chickpea plants, separates the seed from the pods and collects the grain. The children also heard that extreme care needs to be taken with the header so it doesn't catch fire from the fine dust created when harvesting chickpeas. More than 400,000 kilograms of chickpeas will be harvested at the Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri over the coming week. Hopefully some of this will go into making some delicious hommus!

The children then went indoors to examine some recently harvested wheat and had a sensory learning experience to understand how bread and pasta are made.

"This is such a vital activity to connect our children with where their food comes from and to gain an appreciation of the steps we need to take to make that food. We hope this experience is a memorable one for these young people, and that their education about food continues back at their child care centre," said Dr Guy Roth, Director of Northern Agriculture at the Plant Breeding Institute.

"Maybe this excursion will be the inspiration for a life-long interest in agriculture and sustainable food production for these future scientists, engineers, farmers or food technologists. It was a great opportunity to connect with our community and provide a snippet of knowledge and experiences that could spark the interest of our future generation," said Guy.