Yesterday we spent the day at the Belknap County School to Farm day at Ramblin’ Vewe Farm in Gilford. Organized by NH Agriculture in the Classroom, it was a day where about 375 fourth graders got a chance to learn about different aspects of agriculture that happen right here in the Granite State!
We were in charge of the Poultry station and so brought some of our feathered friends to meet the kids. Captain Thomas Wiggin, our Narragansett tom turkey was a big hit – the kids (and some of the chaperones) were pretty awed by his striking looks and prominent “gobble-gobble.” The students all had a chance to pet a couple of baby chicks, say hello to a pair of our Pekin ducks, as well as see three very different breeds of chickens –a NH Red, a bantam Barred Rock, and a white Silkie. One of the ducks laid an egg in the display cage about five minutes before the kids got off the bus. Even though they missed the actual laying part, they enjoyed passing around the egg and checking out how it compared to the chicken eggs they were more used to seeing.
Glenn and I talked about the different types of poultry farmers typically raise, their uses, how to take care of them, and what they ate. (“Omnivore” was the word of the day!) The kids all seemed really excited about meeting the birds and asked some interesting questions about their physiology and care. All in all, it was a pretty interactive station, if a bit chaotic!
Each group of about 12-16 students had a chance to visit a number of agriculture based stations. In addition to learning about poultry, they learned how maple syrup was made, talked about soil structure, growing squashes and gourds, raising dairy cattle, the nutrition in apples, keeping bees, and much more. They had a chance to help drive an absolutely gorgeous oxen team and see how wool is carded and then spun into yarn. Our host, Jeff Keyser of Ramblin’ Vewe Farm, talked about raising sheep and gave demonstrations on shearing – which is always a big hit!
Enormous kudos should go out to the folks at NH Agriculture in the Classroom for putting together a fabulous, engaging and educational day for the kids. They are an extremely valuable asset to the farming community – helping young people learn about their food systems and introducing them to agriculture as it occurs in their community! We were honored to be asked to participate and hope to continue to be involved in the future!