HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The state agriculture department gave hundreds of Harrisburg kids a look at farm life Wednesday — right in the city. Rabbits, flowers, bees — you name it, it was all there for students to learn about, and they also got some hands-on experience working in a community garden.
“Kids are who will be feeding us tomorrow,” Department of Agriculture press secretary Shannon Powers said.
When it comes to agriculture, Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture is focusing on kids.
“We need them in all kinds of agriculture careers. Agriculture is one in 10 jobs in Pennsylvania,” Powers said.
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The department held their annual “Farm City Day” to introduce students of all ages to a career in the field.
“They’re seeing how it works from seed to table,” Powers said.
The BRIDGE Eco-Village hosted the event at the former Bishop McDevitt High School campus, which they are turning into a community center. One of their first projects was turning the football field into a community garden.
Students got their hands dirty working on every part of the garden from refilling the irrigation system to planting flowers to watering and weeding the vegetables.
“We teach them about the anatomy of a seed, what to weed, what to water, how often to water,” Garry Gilliam, CEO of the BRIDGE Eco-Village, said.
Gilliam said teaching kids about agriculture benefits the whole community.
“The more we can grow our food locally, the more nutritional value it is, the better it is for ourselves as well as for the environment,” he said.
It also gets the next generation excited to support this critical industry.
“It takes a lot of people to put the food on our table every day,” Powers said.
Gilliam added, “Even if they’re toting gallons of water up a hill, they’re excited about it because they know it’s for a great cause. “
Powers said the Department of Agriculture is expecting 75,000 open jobs in agriculture over the next several years, so they are counting on today’s students to fill those gaps tomorrow.