A Life-Long Teaching Farm

October is Farm to School Month.
But what if you reversed it, and made the farm into the classroom?

What if farming was not just reserved for FFA and 4-H groups? Farming is a skill that should reach all of us since we all have to eat – what if we could extend agricultural opportunities to ALL students? And just to add a new flavor into the soup – what if we could create a life-long learning farm open to more than just students – inviting the community to participate? Living on a small farm myself, I hear from old friends and classmates about how much they wish they had the quiet of the countryside and the up close, very personal interactions with farm animals and Mother Nature herself. People claim they’d like to ‘retire to a little farm somewhere’ but have no idea how to make that wish happen.

Lisa Green Douglas, acting on “Green Acres”, proved any city girl can make it in the country

Remember Lisa Douglas on “Green Acres,” when she described “watching the little wheat stalks shoosting up out of the ground.” Even an ancient TV sitcom can sometimes contribute an idea of value. 

Many people enjoy watching their plants grow in their garden. If they could sign up for lessons in growing food, would they do so? Especially if they’d be out in the open air, rain or shine, wrestling with pigweed and keeping an eye out for ground hornets, would they enjoy the lessons truly based in reality? Would farming be the next enjoyable step for them, as they learned to grow food instead of geraniums?

Could entire families come for a month in the summer and take home the knowledge they would need to become self-reliant?  Bring the kids, the grandparents, the aunties and the bachelor uncle – hmmm. Wait a minute. Sounds like the farm family of the 1900s or later. Ideally, everyone pitched in, according to their abilities, to make the family farm support as many folks as it could.

America’s agrarian roots are still within family history and memories of the elders. What if we made those memories into textbooks?

What seed will you plant today?
Terri Jenkins-Brady
Dixie Chile Ranch