Show menu

taxonomy list

Using props to explain farming

People passing the fields farmed by Andrew Francis will see the summer task of irrigation in full swing. “As farmers we have a responsibility to explain why and how we are using water wisely”, he says, “and I don’t just use facts and figures to do that. I am using props to explain farming to my visitors – whether children or adults – to be amazed by”. Here are some of those top props as seen in Andrew’s film.

Andrew Francis Elveden Farms

Andrew Francis – all propped up to share the magic of farming potatoes at Elveden Farms

Potted Props

Alongside rows of healthy potatoes Andrew has pots of potatoes denied water. The difference is dramatic: drooping, stressed leaves. Digging up the developing roots clearly demonstrates the devastating effect water shortage has on the number and size of tubers.

Soil samples

Letting his Breckland soil run through his fingers shows how soft it is so perfect for growing potatoes and other vegetables but easily dried out. “I have a sample of different soil from a few miles away to show how it is stickier and dries out less quickly but is no good for a potato plant to grow in.”

Watering Can

The big irrigation gear gives the wow factor to watching visitors. But it’s only when Andrew brings out his tiny green watering can – and waters a plant  –  that the precision possible and necessary on a huge scale makes sense.

Having lots of Bottle

Gallons, litres, millions – all sorts of measures can be mentioned. “I like to scale it right down. I bring out the amount of water that each of my potato plants needs every week” says Andrew ” and lines up the bottle full of water to do just that.

Potato Power

But at the end of the visit it all has to come back to what’s produced by the team on the farm with all this wise water use all season long. “I have a box of fresh dug, perfect, little potatoes for my visitors. That, and using props to explain farming, brings my story back to the food we all want to eat and enjoy.”