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Old MacDonald has a farming lesson to give

Britain's gentleman farmers, facing the prospect of roaming townies on their land, have decided to beat a path of their own - to the doors of primary schools.

The Country Landowners' Association has joined the far right, far left and the Society of Jesus in believing that the answer to its problems smells of poster paint and glue.

A generation of children is growing up without any real understanding of the countryside, claims the CLA.

The first stride in its long march through the education system is a national conference on the teaching of rural studies, to take place in the heartland of metropolitan misunderstanding, Islington in north London, later this month.

"Too many young children still do not really know where their food comes from or how it gets from the farm to their plates," says CLA president Ian McNicol.

"We must find space within the core national curriculum to enable children to learn about food, farming, nature and the countryside. Unless we want to see the ever-increasing divide between town and country turn into a chasm, we need to address a fundamental lack of understanding of the countryside," he added.

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