If you think you’d enjoy showing students what you do on your farm, 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!
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 2018, the Kids on the Farm program has facilitated 168 farm tours and 3 farmer-in-the-classroom visits for 3,523 school students and 785 chaperones. Cumulatively, farmers earned over $79,500 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.
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’ 2018 Farm Tour Evaluation Forms:
“We are completely satisfied with the program. It is working well for the farmer.”
“Everything about the tour was fantastic in our minds. The kids were super attentive, interested, still childlike in their interest in the babies, and the weather was cooperative.”
“Busy class, but well tuned in. The teacher had done preparation work about how to behave on a farm and be around animals and it showed.”
“It was cool to see the young kids interact with the animals and talk about wool sweaters, where eggs come from, udders of milk cows, picking carrots from the garden, etc.”
“This was our first high school tour and we had such a blast! It was so nice to be able to have mature conversations about our farm passions and our experiences with farming over the past decade.”
“I like the program - we get lots of great feedback and it’s fun to see the kids.”
Online booking will simplify the farm tour booking process. Farmers will have access to the booking site so that they can indicate their availability for leading farm tours on their own calendar. Not available on certain days or at certain times? No problem, just block off the days or times you’re unavailable. You will receive support to learn how to navigate the booking site.
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 in the Teacher’s Handbook.
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