- Project Duration: 1 year
- Date of Report: December 2015
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
GOALS: Goals of the project included to educate youth by taking them to a local farm and allowing them to participate in the growing and harvesting on a small farm. This project will provide students an opportunity to examine the way geography, weather and history have shaped the way they eat. This will form the basis for the students’ search into the community’s sustainable farming systems and practices. The project will incorporate lessons with OSU Extension, Soil and Water staff and farmers. Focus will be put on the importance of pollinators, production, soil and water.
PROCESS: This project provided students an opportunity to examine the way geography, weather and history have shaped the way they eat. This formed the basis for the students’ search into the community’s sustainable farming systems and practices. After examining how local farm and food production are an important focus, the project provided an opportunity for students to look at how local farms and food relates to their nutrition, diet, and physical activity. Students selected and harvested pumpkins directly from the field where they were grown by a local farmer. While in the field, educators, including farmers, taught in-depth lessons on the importance of natural pollinators to the production of not only a pumpkin crop but all of the food crops that require insect pollination, including apples and other tree fruits and strawberries. The science behind pollination was outlined. The biology of the honeybee was taught, as well as how weather such as rain, cloudy days, and wind can affect pollination.
Students were taught that the amount of food produced relates directly to the farmers’ profits. Additionally, students were taught to be good stewards of the environment and how they can protect our natural pollinators. With students being able to walk the production fields, and orchard, they gained a deeper appreciation for food, where it is obtained, how it is produced and what factors (i.e. weather, management, natural pollinators, beneficial insects, etc.) affect their daily diets.
Curriculum that was taught:
How was the Scioto River Valley formed?
- How have the Scioto River Valley agricultural communities evolved over time?
- What do we eat and where do we obtain our food?
- What geological evidence can be found in the Scioto River Valley?
- How did our ancestors farm in the Scioto River Valley in relation to present day agricultural practices?
- How do the soils affect plant growth and development in the Scioto River Valley?
Lessons taught included Ohio State University curriculum and lessons from from “Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century.”
- A pre-assessment of students’ existing knowledge related to geologic changes over time and the local
food system was conducted at the beginning of the day.
- An inquiry was made by Educators into what students hoped to learn from the day’s lessons and program.
- A presentation of assessment criteria was presented to students at the beginning of the program.
Connecting Program to Classroom:
- An eco-system scavenger hunt was conducted where students gathered and observed soil samples from each of the three eco-systems: forest, creek, and agriculture, and compared and contrasted the texture, color, moisture, and particle size.
- Students collected different types of soil at the farm and at school and Educators explained a percolation demonstration. Students felt the difference between sand, silt, and clay and discussed soil particle size. Students were asked to predict which soil water flowed through the fastest and the slowest.
- Students asked the farmers how/where water flows on the farm. Using this information, the water flow of the farm was predicted when it rains and when it is dry.
- Erosion was discussed as a soil-forming factor and students wrote about and discussed where the soil started and where it ended.
- Students collected weather data at school in preparation for the field trip noting the time, and they collected and observed weather data on the farm and compared the changes. The farmers, Paul and Leanne Fuhrmann, described the climate on the farm – they explained how the geography affects the weather and climate on their farm in relation to the crops that they grow.
- Crop production variables such as nutrients, light, and water and how these affect the growth of the seeds and plants were taught and discussed.
- Students participated in a pollination game and discussion in which they kinesthetically learned how and why bees pollinate flowers and how this pollination is critical to crop production and the food that we eat.
- A beekeeper taught students about the work of beekeepers and the importance of pollinators.
- Students observed and examined animals that live on the farm and in the garden and described how their lives are influenced by other animals, plants, weather, and climate.
Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator, Ag/NR
Jo Williams Extension Educator 4-H
Josi Brodt, Extension Program Coordinator, 4-H
Kate Sowards, Scioto County Soil and Water Conservation District, Educator
Paul Fuhrmann Farmer
LeAnne Fuhrmann, Farmer
Student and Community Impact: Impact was made by showing youth that not only is it important to understand where food comes from and what it is comprised of, but that they must also make healthy and wise personal decisions regarding their food intake.
Impacts were measured utilizing pre- and post-test surveys with the youth participants, as well as through observation from the educators, staff, teachers and farmers involved with the project. Teachers were given a survey at the end of the project allowing them to report any changes in knowledge and/or behavior they have witnessed.
Impacts of this program were reported in OSU Extension Scioto County Highlights and has been shared during outreach efforts with peers. Additionally, website highlights and the Scioto County Extension website http://scioto.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/events-and-programs/scioto-river-valley-sustainable was provided to teachers so that the information presented at the Youth Day could be used in future classroom instruction and reference.
Youth were taught the aspects of sustainable agriculture; responsible practices of ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible farming.
DISCUSSION: I learned that youth are willing to learn about sustainable agriculture and how farming is being done within the County where they live. Youth were not aware of the sustainable practices that are used in farming today and the close connection that farmers have with natural resources and the environment. This project has made me more aware and cognizant when teaching and educating parents and youth about sustainable agriculture. The results of this project were what I had suspected. I would suggest adding other lessons and experiences throughout the year on a seasonal basis so students experience the changing of the seasons on the farm.
OUTREACH: The impacts and information learned from this program were shared at the 2014 Ohio State University Extension annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio December 9-11, and proposals will be submitted to present national posters and presentations to share tips for replication and impacts from the program. The Extension staff also presented a session to the other program area educators in their Ohio Valley Extension Education and Research Area on November 7, 2014.
Youth participants and Educators used iPads to take pictures of portions of the project. These pictures were edited and posted to OSU Extension Scioto County social media sites, and web page highlights were posted on the Scioto County Extension website http://scioto.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/events-and-programs/scioto-river-valley-sustainable . The youth program will also be submitted for Ohio State Extension state and regional award recognition in 2015. The production of the pictures added a technology and marketing component to the program that is and will continue to be used to help the youth understand the importance both play in promoting agriculture. The local media was contacted to cover the program in the Education Section of the newspaper.
The Sustainable Agriculture Youth Day occurred on October 24th 2014. We have continued sustainable agriculture youth outreach efforts through combined programs carried out in 2015 with Soil and Water Conservation office, schools and OSU Extension. These have included Ag Day activities, County Fair programming, School gardens, Community gardens and library programs.
Youth Day was held at Fuhrmann Orchards in Wheelersburg, Ohio (Scioto County, Ohio)
Farm owner LeAnne Fuhrmann presenting lesson on produce processing
LeAnne Fuhrman Farm owner teaching farm production lesson
Brad Bergefurd Extension Educator teaching botany lesson
Scioto County Soil and Water Educator Kate Soward teaching soil formations and water percolation lesson
Extension Educator Brad Bergefurd teaching plant management
Farm owner Paul Fuhrmann teaching soil quality lesson
Kate Sowards Soil and Water Conservation Educator teaching Scioto River Valley Geologic formations
Paul Fuhrmann farm owner teaching farm climate and farm weather lesson
Paul Fuhrmann teaching the students of plant nutrition and water requirements of crops he grows
Farm owners Paul and LeAnne Fuhrmann welcomed the students and teachers and presented an over view of their farm and laid out the learning objectives for the day
“In field” lessons were taught by OSU Extension & Scioto County Soil and Water Educators and the farm owners.