Student Farmers elevate Student Farming in Delaware


Posted on Wednesday 15th June 2022
Student Farming

Our GREENandSAVE Staff is pleased to inform our members and readers about organizations that are helping to promote sustainability. If you would like us to profile your organization please Contact Us.

Student Farmers is actively looking to recruit a student ambassador in Delaware, as well as farm mentors in Delaware that can help guide students. Overall, student farming is a great way to reduce the distance from farm to table and increase health for students as well as their parents.

Here is an overview on Student Farmers 

Student Farmers is a growing group of students who are committed to in-home and in-school sustainable farming as a means to promote physical fitness and environmental stewardship.

Our Mission: To improve health and nutrition education, combat the challenges of climate change, and support each other in generating some revenue to help pay for college.

Our Vision: To increase knowledge about the advantages of eating more heathy and locally grown vegetables across the range of high school and college age students. We also hope that many of the parents of the students will learn from their children’s engagement in our organization and adopt a diet with less processed foods to reduce the growing cost of healthcare. 

Here is an example of an agriculture education program in Delaware:

Here is an example of a farming education program in Delaware: 

Thousands of Delaware students find their passion through youth agriculture

Every year thousands of students head to the Delaware State Fair to show off a year's worth of training and discipline — and the animals  they’ve bonded with.

Delaware Public Media’s Roman Battaglia joined them in Harrington to learn about the value kids get from youth agriculture programs.

When people think of state fairs, they often envision carnival games, ferris wheels and deep fried twinkies.

They started in the mid-1800’s, primarily as a means of promotings a state’s agriculture, including competitions of livestock and farm products, but have  grown into huge regional entertainment events hosting millions of visitors. The Delaware State Fair hosted a third of the state’s entire population in 2019, it’s biggest year yet.

But the ag foundation remains - helping train the next generation of farmers, veterinarians and just about anyone else interested in agriculture.

Two youth groups dominate this space - FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America and 4-H. Both offer thousands of students across the state leadership training, STEM skills development, and of course, agriculture and livestock education.

Kendall Metz is the state president of the Delaware FFA chapter. The Delaware State University sophomore is studying Agriculture education and hopes to become a teacher.

“We’re really training the next agriculturist in the world — and not even just these agriculturists we’re also training just adults who are going to go into the real world. So FFA and I know 4-H, we really apply for more like leadership alongside agriculture so we’re really focusing on both of those areas so when students decide what they wanna do in the future they can really excel in both of those,” Metz said.

4-H programs are even broader, providing STEM skills, healthy living, public speaking and civic engagement. 

But the core of both remains agriculture education. Many students who join FFA do it because they’re interested in the field.

High school senior Hanna Haigh has been in FFA since 6th grade.  She came to the fair from Milford to show her pig Blueberry at the livestock contest, a big and charismatic girl she’s been training since March.

FFA chapters partner with local farms to provide animals for the students to train and show at state and county fairs. The students learn how to properly feed them, groom them, and most importantly, train the animals to behave politely when showing them to the judges.

“So if you go into the showering and your pig’s screaming and it’s not going where you want it to go the judges will put you at last,” Haigh says. “But if you’re making eye contact with the judge and they’re seeing all the views of your pig and they walk up to you and they say hey, what do you like about your pig, what do you dislike about your pig, when was your pig born — and you know the answers to all those questions you’re gonna place a lot higher.”

Haigh is among those discovering their passion. She grew up in Wilmington before moving south and never knew she considered agriculture until joining FFA.

Metz says it's a familiar story.

“And without FFA I know I personally wouldn’t have been involved with agriculture today; it really lit that spark in me to be able to lead within agriculture and outside of it,” she says. “And I know this is true for many other of our members that we’re really inspiring those not just already in agriculture through their family but those who are outside of it too.”

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