This week is National FFA Week and Nelson and Pade, Inc.® celebrated by spending a morning with some of our Future Farmers of America. We were honored to be invited to participate in the ‘Farmer in the Classroom’ lesson at Westfield Elementary School (WES) on Wednesday morning.
Paula Becker, AmeriCorps Farm to School Nutrition Educator, has been working with the 1st and 2nd grade classes at WES over the course of the past few weeks. For their wrap up lesson, Mrs. Becker invited local farmers to present to these students and share with them the variety of agriculture roles and the importance of agricultural education.
I had the pleasure of sharing with these inquisitive minds exactly what aquaponics is and the growing importance of food security for our future and theirs. Hands were flying in the bleachers with questions and comments. They couldn’t contain their excitement with the thought of being able to grow food without dirt! My presentation wrapped up with them all proclaiming they wanted to be aquaponic farmers when they grew up, and my heart could not have felt fuller than it did at the moment.
Our morning ended with samples of what the farmers grew. As the students savored their first bite of freshly harvested, aquaponically-grown lettuce, they shouted out comments of, “Refreshing” and “Delicious”. Each student started with a single leaf to taste, but they couldn’t get enough! The tote of greens I brought along was quickly emptied as they all went for handfuls of more.
It was a wonderful experience to step away from behind my desk and spend the morning educating our youth, and basking in their excitement and fascination. Thank you Westfield Elementary and Paula Becker for having me as your guest.