If you think you’d enjoy sharing with students the satisfaction you get from producing local food, are interested in increasing your farm name and brand recognition in the community, or are looking for a way to boost your farm income, then the Kids on the Farm program might be for you! Read the information below and complete the registration form by March 2, 2020.
What is the Kids on the Farm program?
The Kids on the Farm (KotF) program connects teachers with participating farmers and facilitates school tours of local farms. This program supports the Local Food Strategy for Yukon by effectively increasing the knowledge, appreciation and awareness of agriculture among Whitehorse students and teachers through experiential learning, all the while supporting school curriculum objectives. At the same time, KotF contributes to the financial stability of Yukon farmers by providing an important opportunity for them to diversify their farm income.
The Kids on the Farm program provides resources to help farmers lead high-quality tours and demonstrates how farm tours fit into the BC/Yukon curriculum guide. The program also provides subsidies to participating school groups to help cover transportation costs, remuneration to farmers to compensate them for their time preparing for, leading and cleaning up after farm tours, and funds for a program coordinator.
From 2013 to 2019, the Kids on the Farm program has facilitated 207 farm tours and 3 farmer-in-the-classroom visits for 4,279 school students and 946 chaperones. Cumulatively, farmers earned over $91,000 for their participation in this program. Feedback from farmers, teachers and students continues to be overwhelmingly positive.
Offering farm tours increases your farm and brand recognition and builds relationships within the community. You get the opportunity to teach students where their food comes from and how they can produce food themselves at home or at school; promote agriculture as a career choice; and generally share the joy you get from your relationship to the land and its products. You also receive remuneration for your time preparing for, leading and cleaning up after tours. More specifically, up to two farmers are paid $50/hour for the duration of each tour, plus an equal number of hours (up to a maximum of 3 hours) for tour preparations and clean-up.
Participating farmers have an annual Farmer's Meeting in March to review the program procedures (booking, payment and evaluations); discuss farm safety and risk management; and share ideas and experiences to help each other gain the confidence to lead fun, educational and memorable farm tours. Participants are provided with a copy of the Farmer’s Handbook that includes information on how to plan your farm tour and lists many age-appropriate farm activities that fit into the BC/Yukon curriculum guide.
The 2020 Farmers’ Meeting will be on Tuesday, March 24th from 1-4pm in Whitehorse.
When do Kids on the Farm tours take place?
The farm tour season runs from May 1 to September 30, not including the schools’ summer holidays. Tours can range from 1 to 5 hours and the average tour duration is 3.5 hours. You have control of your schedule and can decline any farm tour request.
What are farmers saying about Kids on the Farm?
Here are some responses from the farmers’ 2019 Farm Tour Evaluation Forms:
“Well prepared class, with realistic expectations and good farm behaviour. Online booking works well.”
“The students were good kids and had a lot of fun! There were 30 of them which could have been chaotic, but it was just fine. As always, the students loved the animals, especially the babies, and most enjoyed the dissections.”
“Totally cool to see a kid that was scared of the chickens feeding one from his hand, on his own, at the end of the day.”
“For us, we really enjoy being able to incorporate our kids into the tours so they can teach/mentor other kids their age, and just in general to show children where their food comes from!”
“The teacher commented on how easy it was to book this tour. She has done other tours through the program as well and feels like its very organized and easy for her to set up!”
“This group had very insightful comments. “I learned that you have to kill an animal if you want meat.” “I learned that animals and plants give us gifts and we should be grateful.”
Kids on the Farm tours are now booked online, which has greatly simplified the farm tour booking process. Participating farmers will receive support to learn how to navigate the booking site. Each farm will have access to its own online calendar where it can block off days and times it’s unavailable to lead farm tours.
While the Kids on the Farm program will make a concerted effort to facilitate tour bookings to all participating farms, please note that your registration does not guarantee you will be asked to host any farm tours. Information provided on the Registration Form is used to create each farm profile. Teachers choose which farms to visit with their classes based on the farm profiles on the website.
Want more information?
The farmer registration deadline is March 2, 2020