Farm to Fork Youth Field Trips
In an effort to connect youth to local food access and help them understand where their food comes from Farm to Fork Youth Field trips bring youth from local schools and community groups to The Heritage Farm.
The goal is to increase the awareness and knowledge of local agriculture and the role it plays in the lives of young people and their families. Through Farm to Fork, area youth from schools and community groups come to The Heritage Farm to learn more about how their food grows and gets to their tables at home and how it helps them be healthy.
Farm to Fork encourages youth to participate in hands-on farm experiences. Groups participate in farm- and food-topic-related workshop stations. The topics of these stations include planting, weeding, and harvesting produce, worm composting, water resources, bees and pollination, uses of animals and animal byproducts, food systems, and other farm-based activities.
Teachers and principals at schools see The Farm to Fork program connecting the school curriculums in the classroom with a hands-on experience at the farm. They see the value of students understanding where their food comes from, scientific principles, water quality, and general understanding of the food system and how it is related to them personally. For many of these students, this is their first time visiting a farm. The learning station topics are all focused around agriculture, food production, and designed to increase knowledge of agriculture.
Since its inception in 2014, school-age youth from ten schools and five community groups have participated in this educational experience. Through participation in the Farm to Fork activity, 81% of the youth surveyed increased their ability to make a difference in the community through feeding the hungry; 77% understand why agriculture is important and how it affects everyday life; and 91% understand the different roles animals play on the farm. All the youth have expanded their appreciation for and interaction with how food grows, and the environment where their food is grown.
Funding for this program has been supported by grants from WSU Extension, the MG Foundation, and local donations. To continue this program or to expand the opportunities, additional donations are needed to support the bus transportation for youth to get to the farm, but also support for supplies, and basic infrastructure.