HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Lisa Graybeal and The Bridge Eco-Village Founder and CEO Garry Gilliam hosted 325 area K-12 students for hands-on agriculture career inspiration and exploration at The Bridge Eco-VillageOpens In A New Window in Harrisburg. Students learned plant and animal care as Gilliam lead them in a demonstration of climate-friendly, urban, community-based agriculture powered by solar energy, bees, and kid-assisted, gravity-powered rainwater irrigation in The Bridge’s stadium garden.
“These students got an up-close encounter with where healthy food comes from, how it is produced in ways that are healthy for our planet, and how they can be part of feeding their communities,” Deputy Secretary Graybeal said. “They got in on the action for a taste of the rewarding variety of agriculture careers that will be waiting for them when they graduate ready to put their science, technology, engineering and math skills to work feeding our world.”
Farm City Day is a series of events held across Pennsylvania to expose students to careers in agriculture, a field that supports one in ten jobs in the state and anticipates more than 75,000 job openings in the next few years. Today’s event was just one element of the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to keeping Pennsylvania open for business, supplying the skilled workforce employers need and preparing students for rewarding future careers.
Students from Harrisburg’s Cougar Academy, Burrowes Elementary in Lancaster, Carlisle School District, Cumberland Valley High School, and Lower Dauphin School District encountered young rabbits, lambs, pigs, and reindeer, and learned about careers from dairy farming and beekeeping to sustainable forestry and animal care throughout the school day.
“To ensure today’s students are prepared for tomorrow’s workforce, it’s critical that we expose them to rewarding, family-sustaining career paths at a young age,” Department of Education Deputy Secretary Jeffrey A. Fuller said. “Hands-on learning activities like those offered during Farm City Day encourage students to engage with the world around them and envision ways they can apply their knowledge and skills in the future.”
Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget feeds hungry minds and supports Pennsylvania’s future workforce, proposing free breakfast to every child in Pennsylvania public schools, and continuing to support PA Farm Bill initiatives including Farm to School Grants, earn-while-you-learn agriculture apprenticeships, the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, and more.
For more information on Governor Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget proposal, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov. For more about investments to protect and grow Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry, visit agriculture.pa.gov.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture