Adopt a Farmer

I just learned about a super-great program in Oregon called Adopt a Farmer.

Don’t worry—no one is abandoning farmers by the roadside!


Photo by Tomas Sennett, Environmental Protection Agency, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing like that.

In fact, this program is more about farmers helping kids by being adopted. If this isn’t making sense yet, just let me gather my druthers, and I’ll explain …

The Adopt a Farmer program, launched in 2011 by the Agri-Business Council of Oregon, is designed to help reconnect students in middle-school science classes to the sources of their food and fiber with hands-on farm education. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Oregon kids were grounded in good farm work …


Photo courtesy of the Beaverton Oregon Historical Photo Gallery via Wikimedia Commons

Each participating class “adopts” one Oregon farm or ranch for the entire school year. During the year, the class takes at least one field trip to “their” farm, and the farmer or rancher also visits the classroom once a quarter to share updates about life and work on the farm.


Photo of Hurst Farm in Sutherland, Oregon by Ian Poellet via Wikimedia Commons

Plus, the students share a blog with their farmer, which allows them to communicate directly. You can view the blogs by clicking on the “visit blog” link shown below each farmer’s picture on the program’s website.

Twelve schools and over 1,000 students are currently participating in the program, and the Agri-Business Council plans to expand the Adopt a Farmer program to schools across the state.

Here’s a little more about the program from those who know it best:

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is a great idea for school curriculum. Real opportunities for what goes on with a farm are few unless you have a chapter of Future Farmers of America or 4H built into the program and is open to all students. In Florida, we do have some high school agribusiness curriculums but they require specific teacher requirements and a school with career and technical funding to provide the necessary books and teachers to run the program. As a result, there are not as many opportunities for students to select agriculture as an option. Most of the programs are also in the schools located in the county which eliminates such opportunities for kids in the city. I think Oregon is smart in looking at ways to connect secondary education with the state agri-buinesss. But then, Oregon does a lot of smart and progressive things!

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