31 July 2012

A Summer Spent On The Farm

Written by Published in Food

For most teenagers the moment the school bell rings and summer rolls in, it means parties, non-stop video games, movies, and a time to kick back with friends. But for four teens in Freeport, Maine, spending their summer feeding the hungry and learning to be sustainable farmers, happily redefines their definition of summer fun

Caroline Wild, 18, Andrew Hollyday, 16, Emily Harvey, 15 and Abrin Berkemeyer, 17, have been participating in the Teen Ag Crew Program at Wolfe's Neck Farm, an educational summer and fall job experience that teaches teenagers the skills required to grow vegetation.

"I applied because I wanted to learn about sustainable agriculture, help the food pantry, help the soil, and help Wolfe's Neck Farm. It seems like a win-win with so many benefits. It's the movement of our future: small-scale farming," Andrew said.

So far their hard work has reaped a large harvest that has enabled them to make their first delivery of over 80lbs of chard, kale, lettuce, spinach and basil to Freeport Community Services.

As the weeks progress, their crops will yield a harvest of over five thousand pounds of sustainably and locally grown fruits and vegetables in anticipation for donation. The food will then be split between their local food pantry, a summer lunch program for kids, and the monthly community meals.

The Ag Crew not only find it fulfilling to spend their summer outdoors but also to use it by giving back to their community, building lifelong friendships and garnering an appreciation for sustainable farming.

Leader of the Ag Crew, Kaitlyn Gardner, says, "I've been involved with environmental and agricultural education on both coasts, and get excited about all the ways we can facilitate kids connecting to and investing in their environment."

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