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Field trip to Birch Creek Ranch

by Lorien Nettleton ~ September 17th, 2012

Farm to School

Mary Richardson and Emma Kehoe enjoying a break on hay bales at Birch Creek Ranch – Photo courtesy of Anita Golton

School is back in session, and as shorter days bring cooler weather, there is no time like the present to make the most of any opportunity for a field trip. The students of Talkeetna Elementary took an outing to a local farm as part of the Farm to School program this week. KTNA’s Lorien Nettleton tagged along and has this story.

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On a crisp fall day, the students of Talkeetna elementary school have been rooting around in the dirt. They are at the Birch Creek Ranch to learn about where food comes from, and this trip to a local working farm is a chance for them to discover more about where the food that ends up on the dinner table or lunch tray comes from. Leilani Kingsbury took the students on a tour of the fields, greenhouses and nursery.

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The farm to school program is a nationwide program that allows people to incorporate farming practices with the school curriculum. Niki Weaver says that in Talkeetna, this means introducing the children to locally produced food, both in the field and in the lunchroom

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Niki Weaver says the Farm to School program is getting bigger, after last year’s innagural experience with the Farm to School Grant, this year’s program is expanded.

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On the field trip, students got to help harvest some of the fall produce, and pick berries, learn about how the farmers use equipment to give their plants the best chance of growing in Alaska’s short season. The kids? Their favorite part was digging for portatoes.

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As fall sweeps in to the Upper Susitna Valley, it’s a short and sweet season before the snow flies. For the farmers, having some extra hands made short work of the harvest, and the kids have a community potluck to prepare, during which the food they picked will be prepared and served.

 

 

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