FarmTown, a program designed to teach students about food—from the beginning stages of seeds to the end stages when products are sold, delivered and consumed—was recognized April 1 as the recipient of a 2010 Environmental Hero Award. The annual award, presented by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), recognizes individuals and groups across the state that have a strong commitment to the health and protection of the environment. The announcement came just as preparation began for the second year of the program. The project gave nearly two dozen middle school students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in farming; many students had limited knowledge of the process. As part of the project, students worked nearly two-thirds of an acre that was tilled by the Rockford Park District. They attended classes led by staff from the University of Illinois Extension Office. Summer sessions also included field trips and lessons about nutrition, entrepreneurialism and farming.
From the April 20-26, 2011, issue