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26th March 2009, 12:32pm
Students return from study trip to France
Farming and food production students Farming and food production students have returned from a study trip to France which was made possible thanks to a gift from a leading company in the UK’s fresh food industry.

Peterborough-based Produce World provided funding for seven University of Lincoln students to undertake a three-day field trip to research food production methods and sustainable resources management.

The students, all key personnel of leading food and agriculture companies, are studying for their Foundation Degree at the University’s Holbeach campus while on day release from their jobs.

During their stay in the Bordeaux region, they visited a vineyard, a vegetable packing company, a caviar producer and a dairy products manufacturer.

The tour was organised by the Institute des Sciences de la Nature et de l’Agroalimentaire de Bordeaux.

David Stainton, Principal Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, said: “It was a highly successful trip and the educational benefits for the students were huge. They experienced types of agriculture they have not seen before and on a scale which was really quite extraordinary. The trip really opened their eyes to how sustainable resources management is practised in France.”

He said students had been impressed by the sheer scale of the operations in France and intrigued by the way different legislation affected the work of French producers.

Primary Food Production student Phillip Ashton was one of those who benefited from the trip.

Phillip, who works on a 700-acre arable farm near Boston, Lincolnshire, said: “It was ever so interesting because we saw types of agriculture which we were not familiar with. It was very educational to see how these different industries operate and to relate it to what we do in Britain.”

Members of the group will now prepare presentations on the visit, concentrating on resource and environmental management, business development and market trends, and present their reports to Produce World.

The company initially offered the University £500 for a scholarship, but doubled the gift when details of the innovative European study programme were proposed. The Government’s Matched Funding scheme also contributed to the trip.

Group HR Director of Produce World David Frost said: “We are delighted to support this excellent initiative and look forward to a continued partnership with Holbeach.”

Up to ten students a year for the next three years will benefit from Produce World’s gift by travelling to Europe to find out about food supply from an international perspective.

Produce World is currently establishing a charity called ‘The Growing Trust’, with the aim of supporting educational and environmental projects in East Anglia and the surrounding areas.

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