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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Top of the crops

Did you know that 70% of the UK is farmland? Plan a visit and discover what’s happening on a farm near you.

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You’ll need

  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils

Find a farm

  • Depending on where you live, there are plenty of ways to find a farm to visit.
  • If you live in a rural area, you could ask your group – someone may know someone that lives or works on a farm nearby.
  • If you’re in England or Wales, Food for Life has a handy farm finder that also picks up many city farms and projects in urban areas.
  • If you’re in England or Wales, you could also see if there’s a Young Farmers’ Club near you.
  • Once you’ve found a farm that’s happy to host you, and you’ve agreed on a date and time, think about what else you may need to know. For example, does the farm have toilets? What should people wear – are certain types of shoes unsuitable?

Get ready to go

  1. The person leading the activity should help everyone use the ‘Crop tips’ to plan some questions to ask.
  2. The person leading the activity should make sure everyone understands what they’ll need to wear and take with them, for example, closed-toe shoes and a water bottle.

On the farm

  1. The person leading the activity should remind everyone about how to stay safe. The farmer may have some additional rules. For example, people may need to be aware of machinery moving around or wear hi-vis clothing.
  2. Everyone should listen carefully to any safety guidance they’re given during the trip.
  3. Everyone should ask any questions.
  4. Farms are busy places, so everyone should thank the people who took the time to show them around and answer their questions.

What does the farm produce?

Farms in the UK produce lots of different things, depending on factors including the local terrain and soil type. Most agriculture in the UK can be divided into three categories: arable, livestock, and horticultural. Arable farming is growing cereal and grain crops (for example, wheat and barley) – it usually uses huge fields. Horticultural farming is growing things like flowers and strawberries – generally, the land’s divided up into smaller areas than arable farming, and farmers may use things like glasshouses. Livestock farming is raising animals for meat or products such as eggs, milk, and wool.

  • What type of farm is the farm you’re visiting?
  • Why is it that type of farm? What factors influenced the decision?
  • Are there examples of the other types of farm nearby?

How many people work on the farm?

Years ago, the harvest was taken in by hand. Farms employed a lot of people (including school children) to get the work done. The school summer holidays were originally timed with the harvest so that children could help! Modern machinery means that fewer people can do more work.

  • Does the number of people who work on the farm change throughout the year?
  • Where do the workers come from, and how are they recruited?
  • Which bits of production happen elsewhere? For example, processing, shipping, packing, and distributing. Are they associated with any familiar brands or businesses?

What does a typical year look like?

You’ll see different things on the farm depending on the time of year you visit.

  • What are they key events over a year on the farm?
  • What would the farm look like if people visited in six months’ time?
  • What does a typical day look like at the moment? What about in another season?

What’s changed?

Changes in machinery, food fashion, expenses, and the way we import food means that many farms have changes their purpose and the crops they grow.

  • What’s the history of the farm?
  • How has the farm adapted to the changing landscape of farming?
  • What machines are used on the farm? What do they do?


This activity was all about valuing the outdoors. How did people feel on the farm? What was there to see – were there signs of nature as well as plants and animals people put there on purpose? How do farmers work with the outdoors to maintain their farms? How can farmers try to look after the outdoors while meeting pressures to produce more and more food?

This activity was also about being a citizen. Did anyone learn anything new about where their food comes from? Farmers are trying to produce more and more food while also being ethical and doing the right thing. Do people think it’s tricky to balance? Sometimes, people are able to think about things like where their food comes from or choose to buy organic produce. However, while it’s good to be a responsible buyer and choose businesses that are making a difference, this isn’t a choice that everyone can make. Does anyone know why? People might think about people who have to focus on the price of food, people who use food banks, or even people with allergies who have limited choices.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Animals and insects

Be aware of the risks before interacting with animals. Be aware of anyone with allergies, and make alternative arrangements for them.

Gardening and nature

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Road safety

Manage groups carefully when near or on roads. Consider adult supervision and additional equipment (such as lights and high visibility clothing) in your risk assessment.

The questions you ask are up to you – depending on how much your group know, they might want to ask questions about farming in general or really dig deep into the specifics of the farm they’re visiting.

When you chat to the farm, make sure you find out how to make your visit accessible for everyone in your group. You may want to think about getting to the farm, the tour route, the accessibility of buildings, and accessible toilets, as well as anything that might be challenging for people with sensory differences. Work with the farmer, young people, and their parents or carers to figure out how to make the visit work.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

If people enjoyed this activity, you could ask whether you can visit again at another time of year. What’s changed?

Did this visit capture anyone’s imagination? The Scouts Farming Activity Badge may be perfect for them!

If anyone’s already interested in farming, or has some existing knowledge, this would be the perfect opportunity to share it with the group.