Belford farmer's mission to educate the young about farming

Glendale Agricultural Society’s Children’s Countryside Day has appointed John Renner as chairman of its committee

John Renner
John Renner

The Glendale Agricultural Society’s Children’s Countryside Day has appointed John Renner as chairman of its committee.

John has been involved and on the committee for the Children’s Countryside Day since its inception 10 years ago.

During its lifetime the special day, held near Wooler, has educated more than 15,000 children from dozens of schools across the region.

Each year the children are given a day-long lesson in the countryside where they engage with the origins of their food and learn about the importance of farming and the countryside in their everyday lives. John has a lifetime’s knowledge of farming and farms with his wife at Bellshill near Belford, a 237-acre traditional mixed farm.

In addition to the traditional farming John is a member of Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), and through LEAF regularly hosts school group visits educating school children on the origins of food rural issues.

He said: “It is an honour to be chairman of the Children’s Countryside Day committee,

“This really is an exceptional educational event and one which is continually evolving to meet the needs of the curriculum, children and changing rural economy.

“We are aiming to make this the best children’s interactive learning day since its conception a decade ago.”

John plans evolution not revolution in his new role: “This is a hugely-successful event and, as they say, ‘If it is not broken, there is no need to fix it’ so my aim is to build on its success.

“I would like to encourage more inner-city schools to attend and for the children not just to learn about the countryside, but for farmers and rural businesses to showcase the diverse range of careers that are available.

“For us all on the committee, yes, the Children’s Countryside Day is about farming, yes, it’s about food, but we must all remember that to ensure we keep the rural communities alive for future generations, we need to educate at all levels.”

The unique day attracts more than 60 local businesses and community-led organisations to showcase their skills and crafts.

These range from beekeeping, arable farming and red squirrel preservation through to butchery, game-keeping and flood management techniques.

Countryside Day events manager Ruth Oldfield added: “This year is a major milestone for us, and it is fantastic to have someone with such exceptional, knowledge and experience in educating children about rural issues as our new chairman.”

Further information can be found on Anyone interested in supporting the Children’s Countryside Day can contact Ruth Oldfield on 01668283868 or via email


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