October 24, 2018
On a trip that led me into Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of visiting an agricultural treasure, right there in the heart of the city. Walter B. Saul High School is one of the only a few agricultural high schools in the US and is the largest of its kind. The efforts of many adults involved with the school ensure that the next generation of student can learn about and be connected to agriculture.
My visit to Saul started in a greenhouse where students were working alongside farmers and FarmHers harvesting Arugula. The school has some pretty unique arrangements, one being with local cooperative, Weavers Way. The grocery store cooperative has farms spread throughout the city, including one at Saul. There the staff farmers from Weavers Way work in conjunction with the programs teaching the kids about agriculture. On that day, Annie showed up to spend her spring break harvesting greens for extra credit. That’s the kind of extra credit I can totally get behind! Emma from Weavers Way showed Annie how to gently harvest the crop. I not only watched from the lens of my camera but also go to taste the spicy leaf. One of the first harvests of the early spring, it had a taste so fresh I couldn’t resist another!
Just outside of the greenhouse I met up with Tiffany or “Ms. T.” as her students call her. Ms. T. actually attended Saul as a student, pursued a degree in animal science and made her way back to her beloved school to become an animal science teacher. She spends her time working closely with students and animals to help foster what will surely become lifelong lessons.
Ms. T. and I made our way down to the sheep barn where Nejha and Emily, both students at Saul were weighing and giving eye drops to some newly born lambs. The girls explained that while they are on spring break, they are happy to come in to check on the animals in their care. We made a quick stop to check in on the horses, a favorite of Neijha’s before heading back up the hill and into the small animal lab across the street. There the girls and Ms. T. showed me the rats and ferret that are part of the learning based classroom.
We headed back across the street for one more stop, to meet Mariah Butler at the raised garden beds where she works with students. Mariah works for Food Moxie, a non-profit group born out of Weavers Way that works to educate their community on how to grow and prepare healthy and fresh food. At the school Mariah helps teach and guide students through creating and caring for their own small garden and gives them the experience of growing food from seed and taking it to their table.
It’s clear that the students, and adults who are a part of Saul school have passion. Passion to learn about growing food and raising animals. Passion for teaching and passing along knowledge about food. Passion for helping kids understand what goes into getting food onto our plates, caring for livestock, growing plants and more. It is a unique environment, made even more special by the FarmHers who lend their time, talents and passion to building the next generation of FarmHers.
July 27, 2019
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October 29, 2018
Ms. T offers an amazing program! Her knowledge and professionalism is beeming! I am excited that her students are getting this experience, exposure, and practice.
Such a fantastic teacher! We are so proud of you. Great program.
June 15, 2020
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