Food isn’t grown in a grocery store? Heads of lettuce don’t spring up inside plastic bags and asparagus doesn’t sprout in neat little bundles held together by cheap rubber bands?

Until I started working for Farm and Dairy, I thought agriculture was just a myth or folk tale from times long forgotten. Johnny Appleseed was simply colonial America’s version of Spider Man. Chaucer and Whitman were just creative historians.

But, we live and we learn. I recently visited Huffman Fruit Farm, just outside of Salem, Ohio. My assignment: photograph, video tape and cover a school field trip. Not a problem. I’d taken a field trip like this once before, when I was a young boy still learning how to properly tie his shoes.

The Youngstown-based Lake-To-River Food Cooperative organized the field trip for fourth and fifth grade students from Frank Ohl Intermediate School in Austintown. It was designed to educate the students about farms and the growing process.

Tascin Brooks, DTR, food service director at Austintown Local Schools, took nine students and also a representative of the school media class to Huffman Fruit Farm. The idea was to show the students how season extension can help bring local food into the schools year-round.

The kids gathered ’round chicken coops, spinach plants and apple sorters, excited to learn. They asked questions like, “How long is your harvest season,” “Is your farm organic,” and, “How long is it from planting to harvest?”

The funny thing is, I had the same questions and I’m sure I wasn’t the only adult, and I use that term loosely, who was wondering about the same things.

Story Continues Below Photos (click on photo to read identification)

As John Huffman, owner of the fruit farm, and Melissa Miller of Lake-to-River discussed the farming process, I caught myself listening intensely. It seems like a field trip for the students quickly turned into an educational moment for me, as well.

Perhaps there were 10 students there that morning, not nine.

Below is a short video containing some interviews with the students and the adults involved in making this wonderful thing happen.

Will is Farm and Dairy's newest writer. He's recently moved to Lisbon, Ohio where he lives in a church turned community theater. He enjoys writing (of course), theater and hiking.
Will Flannigan
View all posts by Will Flannigan

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