Rural Resources welcomed a new face to the farm in June. Ashley Buchanan accepted the Farm Day Camp teacher position for the 2017 summer season. Buchanan’s background in art and agriculture makes her a perfect fit for Farm Day Camp.
“This ended up being a perfect opportunity for me,” said Buchanan, who graduated from Walter’s State this year. “I couldn't ask for something better to just come up out of the blue.”
Buchanan’s plans for the program include “a lot of hands-on experience.” She said they’ll learn about gardening, from starting a seed to harvesting, as well as livestock.
“I definitely want them to have an opportunity to interact with the potbellied pig and the rabbits and the dairy cow,” she said.
She added, “I guess another aspect of it is bringing in my love for the arts. and being able to do some gardening projects that are creative I'm really excited about being able to weave that together and then of course, time in the creek.”
Plans are also in the works to have horses available for children to interact with and there will also be opportunities for fun and learning off the farm, including a hike to a popular local waterfall.
“The older kids we're looking to them to Margarette falls, weather permitting, and if everything goes as planned, on Friday we will get to take them on the hike and take them into a different atmosphere on the trail than on the farm,” she said. “I'm going to do a scavenger hunt along the way to identify different plants and critters.”
Buchanan said she likes to use any kind of opportunity as a learning experience for kids.
“Part of it is influenced by my background. of being in Johnson City and not really having those opportunities for agricultural activities, working with animals or having someone who could teach me about plant sciences,” she said. “We spent a lot of time outside, did the hiking and camping, but the educational part, I'd say was lacking. I just kind of stumbled upon it a couple years ago. and fell in love with it.”
She added, “I think you learn lots of different aspects of just working through life, by learning how to care for animals and plants, and their growth cycle. I think can be applied to our own lives and being able to care for ourselves.”
Faelyn Campbell, a former participant in Rural Resources’ Farm and Food Teen Training Program who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Berea College in Kentucky, is Buchanan’s assistant for the 2017 Farm Day Camp season.
“Having her experience there is phenomenal,” said Buchanan. “She’s familiar with the program and the farm. I think she'll be great. I'm very grateful to have her.”
Buchanan’s ultimate my goal is to become a 4-H extension agent working so she can combine her loves for art, being outdoors and agriculture. She’s planning to continue her education at UT in the agricultural leadership communications and education program to earn a master’s degree.
Farm Day Camp is an opportunity for children ages four to 12 to enjoy a full week of hands-on activities on the farm, learning about food's journey from soil to table while building relationships with the land, plants, animals and each other.
The week-long camps run from June 5 to July 28 at Rural Resources' Holly Creek Farm, 2870 Holly Creek Rd., Greeneville, TN 37745. Visit the ruralresources.net website for more information and to register.
Rural Resources is nonprofit working to connect farms, food and families through community education, youth programs and sustainable agriculture.