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Community Comment: Student farmers growing and thriving in Delta

Earlier this week we wrapped up our spinach eating contests with the kids with some spectacularly hideous green teeth
Farmer Mike Schneider
Farmer Mike (Schneider) interacts with young farms in the Delta School District Farm Roots program.

What a fantastic week weather wise!

I know it is clear sailing for veggie growing when I can have some water fun with the young farmer friends at their school farms.

Earlier this week we wrapped up our spinach eating contests with the kids with some spectacularly hideous green teeth. The top three greenest teeth from each class earned a prize. Maybe your child was one of them? A little competition never hurts anyone and I am just happy to see the students ask for more spinach. Some kids had lots of fun tasting spinach for the very first time.

To date the young farmers in the Delta School District have tasted and planted radish, carrots, peas, lettuce and spinach. There are lots of spuds in the ground as well (thanks Jack Zellwegger) and we are looking forward to eating everything again before the summer break.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some logistical maneuvering in terms of eating our vegetables, but the kids are more enthusiastic than ever to be outside and challenged with the math equations associated with farming.

The life cycle of plants and Botany is in plain view every day as are lessons in social studies, history and current events.

Understanding yields and dollar signs is certainly an interesting equation and it has been heartening to watch the interest in the activities continue to grow.

I hear anecdotal evidence that there is farming activity on the home front as well, which is very encouraging indeed. The student farmers love to tell me about what they are growing at home or at grammas house and are thrilled to be able to share their stories.

Food and farming are never short of attention in the news cycle and as we continue to learn and adapt to new realities I have the sense that this will continue to be the case on a larger scale.

Agri-Food and Agri-Tech are fraught with problems and challenges, but as Rudyard Kipling noted, “A problem is an opportunity to succeed.”

The path to success is not necessarily a smooth one, nor is success guaranteed, rather, it is the pursuit of success that should be the main goal. In terms of growing food, successes and failures happen every day and anywhere in the world where food is grown.

Young people who gain an early understanding of the joys and pitfalls of small sale farming will be well suited to understand the bigger picture when they grow up. In the meantime, the life skills they are learning will be useful and will likely be fondly remembered.

Mike Schneider is founder of Project Pickle and likes to write about growing, cooking and eating food. He is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution ambassador.