Chapter 2 – Funding options
Funding farm visits can often be an issue. This chapter introduces a few ideas that might help reduce the cost of farm visits and transport. There are a number of public and private funding schemes that offer financial support to schools and farms, allowing educational visits to take place. It is worth exploring these opportunities from the perspective of your own country to see what may be available. Every country will have different funding opportunities, but they will usually fall into either fundinng from public sources (eg local municipalities) or private funding that the school or farm can access.
Visit costs will usually be one of the first conversations that you have with a farm when they are planning their visit. Some farms, especially those that specialize in educational visits, may choose to post their visit costs on their marketing materials. Less established and smaller visit set ups may not have marketing materials, so you will need to discuss costs on the telephone or in person as part of the farm pre-visit.
Some farms may not charge you to come and visit them. This may be because the farmer has decided that their overheads are not that high and they don’t need to charge for a visit. Other farms like to offer visits for free because they feel it important that children understand where their food comes from. Other farms may be in receipt of government funding that means that they don’t need to charge the visitors. Another approach that some farms take is to offer a free guided farm walk, but to charge for any additional activities such a cooking or planting seeds. It may be that you are confident in leading the farm visit yourself without the input of a farm guide, in which case you may be able to negotiate a free or cheaper visit
Flat rate charges will vary from place to place. Charges will usually be for a day visit. The day will usually run between 10am and 2.30pm (allowing time for travel from and to your kindergarten), with a lunch break of 30 to 45 minutes. This will vary between farms, so it’s always good to ask what the charge includes. An average daily charge is usually between £100 and £150 for a group. Some farms may charge less and occasionally, visits can be as high as £300.
Cost per child
Farms that charge for the visit can charge anywhere between £1 and £10 per child, depending on the location of the farm and content of the visit. Most farms would typically charge somewhere in the region of £3.50 per child, with a minimum amount of approximately £100.
- Identify suitable farms in your area for a visit.
- Look at websites / promotional materials to see if the charges are listed.
- If there is no website, call or email the farm.
- Ask the farm if they are part of any government funded schemes that allow for free visit. If so, ask the farm if they have capacity to offer you a free visit.
- If the farm does not receive any funding, ask how much the visit will cost.
- Find out what the visit cost includes. Does it include a farm walk and / or additional educational activities?