Peirce students learn about sustainability

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Eighth-graders at Peirce Middle School were able to eat food that was all grown and harvested within Chester County as part of “Farm to Table Day,” sponsored by the West Chester Area Education Foundation. (Candice Monhollan)

Eighth-graders at Peirce Middle School were able to eat food that was all grown and harvested within Chester County as part of “Farm to Table Day,” sponsored by the West Chester Area Education Foundation. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST GOSHEN — The tables set up outside of Peirce Middle School were filled end to end with sandwiches, fruit, salads and more for the eighth-graders.

The food, from Shoo Mama’s, was all locally grown and harvested from local farms, encompassing the “Farm to Table Day” theme sponsored by the West Chester Area Education Foundation.

“The whole day was about giving back to the community,” said Mike Dumas, a Technology Education teacher at Peirce. “This gives the kids the opportunity to see they’re eating something that was grown in Chester County and that was sold in Chester County. The end goal is they live their lives in Chester County and give back to the schools as their kids go through the West Chester School District.”

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

The half-day program featured presentations in the morning from three guest speakers before heading outside to see some farm equipment.

The three guest speakers included Randell Spackman from Thornbury Farm, a representative from the Chester County Economic Development Council and a representative from the Chester County Food Bank.

“(Spackman) talked about how the farm started through the Battle of Brandywine and the Revolutionary War to ‘Ghost Hunters’ to what organic produce he grows and sells to the market,” Dumas said.

The representatives filled the students in on future jobs in farming and how giving back and volunteering helps the community.

Once outside, the students were awed by the large combine brought by Robin McCardle.

“He talked about the science, the history and the tech ed — the whole STEM aspect — of farming,” Dumas said. “Each individual core subject had their own play on what they were going to do today.”

The combine, which features some of the latest technological advancements in farming, gave teachers the chance to tie it into their lessons.

For example, history classes could teach how the history of farming has evolved from the horse and plow to modern technology.

“The original way to farm was workers in the field with hand sickles chopping down the wheat,” Dumas said. “One person could get about half an acre done per day. This combine averages about 40 to 50 acres per day. It produces more food and it’s about being proficient.

“It’s doing everything as efficient as humanly possible, whether it’s going at a slower rate to save more fuel to using different implements during different weather and tracking the moisture inside different plants. You could run several full days of education just on that machine itself with how advanced it is.”

For lunch, the students gathered outside in the outdoor classroom to find a soft spot on the grass or snag a spot at the benches to enjoy the freshly-prepared, home-grown buffet of food.

It was a perfect way to cap the day of sustainability learning.

“They can see the farmer and eat the food that he makes,” Dumas said. “They can see the potential jobs coming.”

Not only did the weather hold off for the outdoor festivities, but it helped the students get excited about what they were learning.

“The kids loves it,” Dumas said. “Anytime they can get outside the box of the school and learn, they love it. Whether it’s something simple, like going for a walk outside the classroom or a full day of giving back, they thrive on this.”

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Categories: Community, Economy, Education, Environment, Food, Science

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