Hello again everyone! Lauren here!
So, we went on a Home Ed trip to Matlock Meadows Dairy Farm the other day… The weather was glorious, it was nice to get the feeling that, perhaps, spring has finally sprung?! It was a perfect day to be out in Derbyshire.
Off we headed, excited for the day ahead… After a few wrong turns and a good old husband/wife argument about who was at fault for said wrong turn, we arrived at the Farm.
It was a great turn out, with plenty of our wonderful Home Ed friends. The children all instantly shot off in pursuit of the park (isn’t that always the case?!) and a spur of the moment game of football started between a lot of the older children, and the rest seemed to all take it in turns on a very large swing! It was so wonderful to see them all playing together and helping each other. This is normally the case in Home Ed world. You may not know someone yet… So let’s go play and get to know each other!!
N was pretty much stuck to the hip of her 2 friends J and C for the entire trip… She loved every second. Something I really love since home educating, is that Nola no longer looks for our reassurance before building the confidence to take part in things. She is so happy and confident, and will join in anywhere!
So, I think most of the parents arrived expecting an ice cream making workshop, or at least seeing how the ice cream is made… It actually turned out to be a tour of the dairy farm.
We enjoyed a tractor ride around the fields. When we came back, the farmer let the sheep out of their fields to walk amongst the children, and the children were able to feed and stroke them! I thought this was wonderful. There are far too many safety regulations these days. I really want my children to get a hands on experience with animals, animals truly are one of the most enriching beings you can bring into your lives…
They also brought the resident pig in to be petted and fed too.
Being a vegan, at this point I was happy to see how much space the animals had to roam free. They seemed happy and clean and free…
This took a slight nosedive.
When it came time to look around the dairy part of the dairy farm, my heart started to break…
The cows are kept side by side in an enclosure to feed, be impregnated, give birth, have their calves taken away as soon as they’ve given birth, be milked constantly, given 2 months off and then the cycle begins again… And the calves? They all looked frightened in a separate enclosure 😔… They don’t get ANY of their mothers milk. They get forced onto formula, because it’s cheaper for them and they get more cows milk to sell as the mothers aren’t feeding the babies…
My heart was truly broken.
We had an ice cream as the end… Yes, it was technically tasty, but it was tainted with everything we had seen and learnt about this industry…
It was the last time any of our family will be touching dairy.
What I will say is that experiences like this are what educate in a way that a school room cannot. I really appreciated the day as a whole, with the children having such a wonderful time together. I suppose I also did really appreciate being educated about the reality of such a major part of the food industry!
Nola did a write up about her day…
‘My Day at the Dairy Farm
Me and my friends went to the farm. We went to see cows, sheep and pigs. And we fed the animals. We had a ice cream. I had a sprinkled cone and I had mint ice cream. We watched the cows being milked. I played with J on the park with her.