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Student Farmers is actively looking to recruit a student ambassador in Massachusetts, as well as farm mentors in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts:
It was a literal field trip.
The students, a contingent from Worcester's South High Community School, crouched in a field at a North Grafton farm, where rows and rows of dirt were covered in black plastic. Sophomore Nadia Frempong and some other kids are using poles to make holes in the plastic covering the ground.
“You just like poke it through and they put the plants inside,” she said.
Other students, like sophomore Anya Geist, knelt in the dirt, placing delicate eggplant starters in the holes.
For the last 20 years, thousands of people have volunteered with the Community Harvest Project on the nonprofit's 15-acre farm. The produce grown there supplies hunger assistance programs in the area.
Volunteers range from teams of corporate workers to students like the ones from South High. They take on a three-hour shift doing everything from prepping the garden beds to harvesting the plants.
"I think there's something definitely about teamwork that we learn here," said Geist. "It's just really great to be out helping the community and actually working with your hands and doing stuff that you know is going to benefit other people."
At the end of their shift, the South High volunteers cleaned up at outdoor sinks and gathered with Community Harvest volunteer manager Wayne McAuliffe, who told them what they accomplished and how many servings their work will produce. McAuliffe started out as a volunteer at Community Harvest Project himself, 13 years ago.
The students are aware of hunger and volunteered to make a difference.
"Our school system has free lunches and free breakfasts and there are a lot of kids who depend on that for most of their meals," said freshman Phoebe McDermott. "So that's always been, I don't know, kind of a sad and scary thought."
It's not just kids dealing with hunger. One in three adults in Massachusetts depended on food assistance in 2021, according to a recent Greater Boston Food Bank report. Food insecurity rates cited in the report were highest among communities of color and people who identify as LGBTQ.
"We now likely know somebody in our circle — or our work, or in our church, or synagogue or temple — somebody we know is not able to make it on the income they have," said food bank President Catherine D'Amato.