Seems like a strange concept, but in middle schools all over Oregon farmers are showing up in the classroom and middle schoolers are heading out to the farm! The Adopt a Farmer program is sponsored by Agri-business Council of Oregon and within the first year reached out to 400 students, last year 1200 students, and this coming year 3000 students is the projection!
The whole concept is to expose kids to a different side of our agriculture rich state and have a personal story about farms. The program itself pays for buses for fields trips out to the farm, while the farmer dedicates their time to come into the classroom 3 times a year. It’s a big commitment, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and something that I feel is well worth my time and effort!This is me explaining some of our equipment, and why safety on the farm is so important!
The class that I worked with this year wasn’t from a hugely urban area, I actually had kids that lived near farms, or a few who had grandparents that lived on farms. But they still had so much to learn and had so many questions! One of those questions that still rings in my ears, “So why are we developing all this wonderful farmland if we have so many people to feed?” (light bulb!) I realized in that moment, that these middle schoolers are very observant, and these conversations are so important.
The farm tour was by far my favorite activity. The class got to see our actual filbert (hazelnut) harvesting. They got to put their hands in the totes of filberts and truly see the product that we take in to be sold. It was so hands on, and so exciting to see them having such a great experience. When I visited the classroom we covered things like world markets, the business of farming, how plants grow and so much more. They were able to play a farming game where they had a farm of their own and had to rely on the roll of the dice to get good growing conditions, disease resistances, and good market pricing. A reality that I could share with them because many times I as a farmer feel like I’m out there just rolling the dice too!
We had a great day out on the farm, Yukon especially loved all the attention!
Programs like Adopt a Farmer aren’t easy to come by. Mostly because it takes a lot of work and dedication by so many. I am very thankful to the Agribusiness Council of Oregon for stepping up and making this a top priority and committing themselves to making it work! It’s not easy, but it’s extremely important!!
***Agribusiness Council has teamed up with Farmers Ending Hunger and they have a fundraiser going on! You can click HERE to get more information on how you can help this wonderful program and enter to win 2 Southwest Airline Tickets!