Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo submitted by: Jessica Pfisterer
A farm family in Wellington County has created an online Farm School for young learners.
The project is a series of free one-minute videos that discuss farm life to keep learners engaged.
Jessica Pfisterer and her husband Ryan, run the Pfisterer Farm just outside Damascus, near Arthur, and she said back at the beginning of the year, her and Ryan were talking with educators and parents about the struggles of online learning, especially for those in Grades 1 to 3.
“It’s hard to keep them engaged for any length of time,” Pfisterer said with a laugh. “So, we’re often told that our son (Boone) is going to have a great life on the farm, and I thought, ‘well why not share that with everyone else,’ and one of our vision and values for the farm is to make our farm accessible to the public.”
Pfisterer said because they can’t do farm tours right now due to the pandemic, this is the next best thing.
All the videos tie into the Ontario School Curriculum and be accessed through their website, pfistererfarm.com.
Pfisterer said her and Ryan consulted with an educator and made sure the content of their videos had clear connections with what was being taught in the classroom.
She explained some of the topics they cover.
“We talk about how we grow hay in the summertime, and then we bale that up, and store it and feed it over the wintertime when the seasons change, or looking at the similarities and differences between animals,” Pfisterer said.
She said they also have the option of teachers submitting up to five classroom questions to the Pfisterer Farm School, where they will respond within one week via video directly to the teacher.
Pfisterer said that it’s almost like a virtual field trip for the students.
She said she thinks with the pandemic, there is a renewed interest in all things local, especially knowing where your food comes from.
“Our goal for the farm is to be transparent and accessible, so, if the kids can takeaway just, you know, one little nugget of education or information from our videos about agriculture and, you know, all the great work that goes into producing food, then that’s all we can ask for,” Pfisterer said.
She said that growing up in the city, a farm was something only children went to visit for field trips.
“But, we kind of want to break down those barriers, by just opening it up, and opening the dialogue,” Pfisterer said.
Pfisterer said that the whole experience has been very rewarding, and other farmers have reached out to tell her and Ryan what they’re doing is awesome, which she said is so nice to hear because they are first generation farmers.
She added that because they can’t run their Family Day event, they will be hosting a virtual local farm and food experience for the whole family to do over the weekend, that they’re offering through their website.