Recently, New England Farmers Union attended two events at western Massachusetts high schools to talk to students about specific policy issues they can get involved in, such as GMO labeling, and to let future graduates know what kinds of careers are available in agriculture. The events presented an opportunity for Farmers Union representatives to spread the word about its $500 scholarship, the deadline of which was recently extended to June 30 (more information on the scholarship here).
Northfield Mount Hermon School, an independent boarding and day school in Gill, on May 8 hosted a Farmers Market Teach-In, inviting local food and agriculture experts for a day of sharing, educating, and selling farm-grown products to students and school staff. That day, all of the school’s classes engaged students on topics relating to the local food system.
New England Farmers Union President Roger Noonan spoke to a class about GMO labeling, discussing the importance of knowing where the food you eat food comes from, what goes into the final product, and why consumers should have the right to know this information. Emma Sabella, Farmers Union’s Membership Assistant, set up an educational table under the big white tent that housed the farmer’s market. She spent the day engaging students in conversations that moved toward the goal of the event: “To build educational connections between youth and adults and between the food producers and consumers of the Pioneer Valley.”
Meanwhile, on April 29, at Buckland-based Mohawk Trail Regional High School’s Career Exploration Day, 10 groups of eight students visited booths set up by local employers, including New England Farmers Union. Director of Membership and Programs Kate Snyder spoke to students about what careers they were considering and explained the various jobs associated with growing food, fuel and fiber. Careers she discussed were as varied as farm worker, farm owner, marketer, policy expert, political organizer, administrator, lawyer, manufacturer, educator, land steward, lender, member of Congress, photographer, and writer. Several students she spoke with grew up on farms and were considering continuing farming as a career.
The New England Farmers Union Education Foundation fosters educational and charitable activities that strengthen diverse rural economies and to bring fairness and justice to agricultural producers and fishermen, their families, and their communities. The foundation makes the annual scholarship possible. Donate online to the foundation here.