Airdrie (Rural Roots Canada) – Students in the Rocky View School Division are getting their hands dirty in a new agricultural program based on a farm.

The Farm, which is located just north of Airdrie, has just about everything to give students a chance to learn about animal care and welfare and growing crops.
The farm has turkeys, goats, chickens, and pigs, and their care is the students’ responsibility, with the teachers over-seeing the chores are carried out.

Mark Turner is a teacher with ‘The Farm’ program.

He says the students have really embraced this new way of learning.

“How lucky we are, we’re finally out here; this is the vision we had two and a half years ago, we want kids outside being around animals, figuring out how things grow and so it is, it is kinda surreal sometimes being out here, but we’re making it, we’re doing it,” Turner said.

Student Rachel Carroll says it’s been a great experience.

“Everyone kinda has their own group, as I said the pigs is what I take care of the most if you can help with one thing, if you can build the wind-break fences you are going to do that, It’s just who is capable of doing what that’s kinda what you are assigned to do,” said Caroll.

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Student Nolan Rowney says this will help him develop skills he can use in his career.

“I have always been interested in mechanics, so working with engines getting to know people all this experience with teamwork-building is really nice for that because I’m not afraid of future jobs that involve talking to people,” Rowney said.

Turner says they have had a lot of support from the community; all they needed to do was put it out to members of the community.

“I mean, you name it, we have old-time farmers, who have been farming here for generations offering us material, we have different businesses who have stepped up.”

Turner says the school division has really embraced the idea and was one of the first to say ‘let’s do this.’

There are currently 40 students enrolled in the program, and he adds there is plenty of room to grow.