SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Fourth-grade students at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Agnes Elementary Schools connected with fresh, healthy and local food producers as part of a Farm to School field trip last week. The students visited Gardener’s Orchard and Bakery north of Springfield owned by Radu and Andre Gardener and family.
The Farm to School farm field trip gives students educational opportunities focused on healthy, local foods and connects students to the farmers who grow their food.
“Growers and producers love to share their passion through community outreach, education, and sharing their experiences with others,” said Amy Patillo, the University of Missouri Extension specialist in Greene County that is coordinating the program.
The Farm to School field trip engaged students in learning how plants grow; discovering the varied use of livestock for fertilization and keeping the pastures mowed, and indulged the students with tasty homemade apple turnovers made fresh in the Gardner’s Bakery.
The students learned that Gardener’s Orchard grows 14 different varieties of apples and peaches, and blueberries and strawberries. Students toured the greenhouse used for plant production of produce and flowers and stopped by to take a picture and say hello to the cows.
The parents, teachers, and students learned about the realities of working a farm, maintaining an orchard, and expanding production to include berries, livestock, a roadside stand, and a bakery.
“The Gardener’s work many late nights and long days maintaining the farm to grow and harvest apples, peaches, and berries, keeping the grass mowed, opening their farm for U-pick, washing, storing, and preserving fruit, and filling orders in the bakery,” said Patillo.
The field trip was coordinated by Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks and is an essential component of the Farm to School community project, led by the University of Missouri Extension and Taney County Health Department.
For more information about Farm to School of the Ozarks, contact: Amy Patillo, Farm to School Coordinator in Greene County, (417) 881-8909.
— University of Missouri Extension
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