Farm fun comes to the city

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Well over 500 area elementary students have been cycling through a series of farm-related learning stations in Stratford this week.

At least one of them didn’t want to leave.

“A little girl told me on Monday that she didn’t want to leave because this was a fun class trip,” event spokesperson Heather Robinson said Wednesday.

Keesen DeYoung, a Grade 3 St. Ambrose student, was enjoying his time at the dairy station Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s pretty fun here,” he said. “Getting to pet the cows is about my favourite thing.”

The three-day event, called iFarm, was held at the Burnside Agriplex and hosted by commodity groups from across Perth County. It started nearly half a century ago under the moniker Dairy Days.

“About five years ago, we saw that there was more of a need to talk about more than just dairy, that all commodities need to be able to share their story and tell these kids what we do and how we do it,” Robinson said. “Now we work together to put this event together.”

About 560 Grade 3 students from 14 elementary schools took part.

“As far away as Listowel Eastdale at the north end and South Perth Centennial at the south end,” she said.

Wednesday afternoon featured several Stratford schools.

“For some of them, this will be their first time really getting to see animals up close and learning about what we actually do on a farm,” Robinson said.

The students rotated between interactive workshops focusing on the dairy, egg, pork, beef and grain industries.

“We’ve had really good feedback from the teachers and the kids are really enjoying it,” she said.

A local farm safety association touched on household chemicals, the importance of proper labelling, and lawnmower safety, while the Stratford Perth Museum explained the origin stories of area pioneers and early settlers.

Appropriately, a cow bell alerted the students when it was time to move on to the next phase.

tbridge@postmedia.com

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