Charity Spotlight: The Farm School

Reader Contribution by Abby Olcese
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Photo by Fotolia/

This issue’s charity:The Farm School

Why they’re crucial: Sustainable food practices are essential to maintaining our food system. But the continued success of good farming practices requires new generations of farmers to make it work. The Farm School encourages farmers of all ages by creating educational programs that connect people with the land. Spread over four family farms in rural Massachusetts, the school teaches sustainable farming practices to students ranging in age from middle school to adult. Its year-long Learn to Farm program allows adult students to live and work on the school’s farm. Students grow their own food, learn business management techniques, and operate summer vegetable and winter meat CSAs.

What they do:  

• Run a year-long residency program for adults looking for hands-on experience in forestry, animal husbandry, propagation, soil science and more.
• Host short-term visits and summer camps for students and teachers to stay at the farm and get hands-on experience raising animals and growing crops. 
• Operate The Chicken Coop School, a full-time middle school for local children. 

Did you know…

• Farmers older than 65 outnumber farmers younger than 35 by a margin of six to one.
• 63 percent of all farmland (573 million acres) will need new farmers over the next 25 years as older farmers retire. 
• The Farm School hosts more than 2,000 children each school year as part of its classroom programs.