Australian schoolchildren served up ‘on-farm experience’ without leaving classroom

Dairy Australia is using Virtual Reality to bring the paddock to schoolchildren, many of whom have never been on a farm, met a farmer or know where milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt come from.

The research and development organisation hopes to bridge the gap between dairy farming and urban primary schoolchildren by bringing on-farm experiences into the classroom to help them understand how dairy farmers work to supply nutritious, sustainable food to fuel a healthier Australia. 

Dairy Australia’s Virtual Reality initiative launches tomorrow from St Johns Grammar Primary School in Belair, in Adelaide, with schoolchildren in the classroom being taken through the entire process of making dairy foods, from the paddock and milking shed, to packing and even cheese making.

From here, schools throughout Australia will be able to download the content.

Dairy Australia spokesperson, Jess Phillips, said educating the next generation about the dairy industry and the importance of dairy foods for overall health and wellbeing is critical.

“We know young Australians are more conscious of what they are consuming than ever before. However, an alarming 60% of school aged children are not getting enough dairy during a critical time for bone growth.

“Through the use of Virtual Reality, this new experience allows students to learn in an engaging way, that is easily accessible to educators – and helps students connect with the food they consume each day.”

The Virtual Reality program supports Dairy Australia’s commitment to working with schools and its popular curriculum program Picasso Cows and Discover Dairy resources.

South Australian dairy farmer, Bec Walmsley, whose farm features in the Virtual Reality program, said as consumer interest and food production transparency continue to grow, there’s increasing need to connect the Australian farming community with wider Australia.

“Through educating students on the manufacturing process, from milking to final consumer product, we hope to inspire young Australians in making healthy food choices, to better their health and support the industry.”

Dairy Australia’s Virtual Reality initiative is being launched ahead of National Agriculture Day on 18 November which this year celebrates Innovation and can be found here.

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