Life on the farm: Over 600 kids attend Fulton County 3rd Grade Ag Fest
With over 75,000 farms across Ohio, it's important to teach the next generation how to live off, and with, the land. Over 600 Fulton County kids were out at the fairgrounds this week, learning about agriculture in the annual 3rd Grade Ag Fest.
Education specialist Amanda Podach says "the Soil and Water [Conservation District], and the Farm Bureau, just felt it was very important to have an event to educate the students on agriculture, where your food comes from, and we wanted it to be very hands-on."
Many of the 16 exhibits here are interactive, and for very good reason. They hand out small samples for the kids to touch and pass around, plus have their real-life counterparts to teach them further.
Different exhibits teach different things, of course -- whether it's raising chickens, caring for goats, or even how soil and water interact -- and you can never go wrong with a meal straight from the farm.
"This [event] is free to the schools, and every student receives lunch and a t-shirt," Podach explains. "We have our county commissioners serve lunch out of the beef stand to our students, so it all ties in to our academic content standards."
With everything from bees to cheese to maple trees, we asked some of the 3rd-graders what their favorite part was. Unsurprisingly, animals won the day. Cows, goats and alpacas provided for teachable moments -- and some kids learned about the grosser side of farm life, with reports ranging from "the poop that we stepped in on accident" to "the cow that slobbered all over me".
Podach says it's days like this where kids get out of the classroom that they make some lifelong memories -- and with the event having been going since 2005, she's already seeing things come full circle.
"I had a student teacher yesterday who remembers being at Ag Fest as a student," she recalls. "Her perspective, now seeing her students go through it, was just amazing... that's what it's all about."