School to Farm Day Returns
Clip, clop, clip, clop. The sound of horse hooves and laughter could be heard as Phil Warren, Sullivan County Farm Bureau president, drove a wagonful of fourth graders around the Sullivan County Complex on Monday, May 23rd. His draft horses, Jake and Rudy, eight-and seven-year old Belgian Geldings respectfully, were appreciated by students and teachers alike.
“The energy of the 4th graders was in the stratosphere,” Warren shared. “On our wagon ride we saw barn swallows and bobolinks working the fields. Many teachers said horses was a highlight for these youngsters.” Jake and Rudy were not the only highlights of School to Farm Day. Over 160 students rotated through a variety of agricultural related stations learning from local producers, educators, artists, and community members. Phil’s farrier, John Hammond, brought his mobile blacksmith shop and demonstrated how he shapes horseshoes to fit the horses’ feet. John and Robin Luther of Parnassus Farm in Acworth brought one of their calves, taught the students how to make butter and passed out Cabot cheese samples.
Sam Nelson, a teacher at Newport’s Tech Center and of Beaver Pond Farm, taught students how to put a tap in a sugar maple trunk. Jozi Best, a sheep farmer from Unity and NH Ag in the Classroom (NHAITC)
volunteer, brought her sheep and lambs and taught students about wool. School to Farm Day is a program of NHAITC.
Having a School to Farm Day in Sullivan County was Jozi’s dream for a long time that was finally realized in 2019. She hopes students will leave with an “appreciation of how food, fiber and fuel originate before being bought in the super stores,” helping students to see the importance of farms, fields, mills, and forests and people to work them.
She hopes “there will be at least more appreciation for the workers whose lives are very different from most of them,” and possibly inspire them to think about becoming part of the agricultural community one day. Some of the other stations students visited focused on beekeeping, how to grow microgreens, soil as a habitat, water and watersheds, the amazing potato, wild dyes, fiber arts and spinning, fruits, and the history of farming. We are thankful to all the presenters for taking the time to come out and share their skills and knowledge with the students. And a special thank you to the sponsors that make this day free for schools to attend. Sponsors include Sullivan County Farm Bureau, Andy Jellie American National Insurance, Cunniff Landscape, Cabot, and Sullivan County Natural Resource Department and Conservation District.