Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau held its first ever Project RED June 8 at the Kalamazoo County Fair Grounds, hosting nearly 230 fourth-graders from several Kalamazoo elementary schools.
For their first go at the popular program, Kalamazoo decided to keep class sizes small so each student got the best possible learning experience.
Six different learning stations covered agricultural topics ranging from farm machinery to Michigan specialty crops. Students rotated through each station, participating in hands-on activities led by Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau member-volunteers.
When the buses arrived, students rushed into their groups and then to their first stations, eager to see what Project RED held in store. Their excitement was met with that of the volunteers who’ve been planning the event since last November.
One of those volunteers began a chant with the group he was leading—nicknamed the Cows—chanting “MOO! MOO! MOO!” in between one station and the next.
Through the volunteers’ collective efforts, students happily learned about agriculture, asking questions and eagerly diving into hands-on activities.
At the plants-and-flowers station, students planted green bean seeds to take home and nurture, hopefully demonstrating for the urban audience that their food doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store, but rather is the product of hard-working farmers.
One of the participating teachers was impressed with the event.
“Students came back to school and had a lot of new information to share and knowledge that they gained,” she said. “It was very hands-on and fun for all. Exposing students to agriculture is so important.”
“Many volunteers are passionate about participating in the project again next year and are excited to start planning already,” said Brandie Kline, part of the team who organized Kalamazoo’s first RED.
Laura Brost is a participant in MFB’s inaugural Rotational Intern program. Learn more about her here.