Students from across five Pennsylvania counties discovered agriculture at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s 19th Farm City Day during the Keystone International Livestock Exposition at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
“The importance of connecting farm and fork at an early age cannot be overstated,” said PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, “These children are able to better understand agriculture by experiencing it firsthand and learning how it impacts their lives.” 15 schools and home school associations from Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties participated in the free event.
“We’re currently teaching agriculture education in our second grade classrooms. Farm City Day augments our learning,” said Bellaire Elementary School Second-Grade Teacher Kristina Kimbark. “It was really nice for us to have a chance to speak with Secretary Redding as he grew up on a dairy farm. Our students are learning how milk gets from the cows on the farm to their tables. Today’s event helps them connect the dots.”
The pupils were guided through the beef, horse, pig and sheep exhibits and hands-on learning stations, each featuring a different sector of agriculture. They were led by the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess, Pennsylvania State Fair Queen, Pennsylvania FFA State Officers, Pennsylvania State 4-H Council, Pennsylvania Beef Ambassador, Pennsylvania Alpaca Princess, Pennsylvania Apple Queen, Pennsylvania Rabbit King and Queen, Pennsylvania Sheep and Wool Queen and their courts.
“Farm City Day is a great opportunity for kids to learn where their food comes from and all of the different aspects of agriculture,” said Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Savannah Zanic of Huntingdon, Huntingdon County. “It is great for the kids to learn about agriculture this young, since most individuals today are at least four generations removed from the farm.”
Through 21 educational stations, students learned tidbits such as where milk comes from, how vegetables grow and how honey is made. They learned about healthy living through healthy food and physical fitness, met farm animals, interacted with 4-H and FFA members and learned how to spin wool.
The Keystone International Livestock Exposition is the largest livestock show on the East Coast with more than 1,300 beef cattle, 150 goats, 650 horses, 1,200 sheep and 700 swine exhibited by producers from 28 states and Canada.