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School farm

Iowa middle school kids are learning about farming and helping their community

Middle school students in Hamburg, Iowa asked if they could have a farm on school property, where they would be responsible for running it. The answer was “Yes”.

Mike Wells is the school superintendent. He says their farm was started earlier this year when 60 chickens were hatched, and the kids designed and built the chicken coop. A large vegetable garden has gone in as well. In the meantime, the school is working with city planners on how the rest of the farm will be laid out.

"We plan on having a few piglets, a couple lambs, and we’ve reached out to several universities and asked for their help to create a dairy operation where we’d have one Holstein cow that we would milk and the kids would learn to pasteurize milk, and to make cheese, and ice cream, and butter," says Wells.  

Wells says they’re using grant money and sweat-equity from the community to get the school farm set up. There is a lot of support for the real-life math, science, and reading possibilities from this project.

The kids will also learn about compassion for animals, and caring for their own community. Wells says the students want to start a grocery store where they can sell what they raise.

"The kids have developed a business plan with partnership with the city, and our hope is that during the day our middle school business classes will be able to man the store. Another part of that plan is to have farmer’s markets where the kids will learn advertising, customer service, and making change," says Wells. "We look forward to taking some of the produce and some of the eggs from our operation and giving to our food pantry, and giving to elderly people and shut-ins as part of a community service as well."

Wells says if we can teach our kids to roll up their sleeves and develop a strong work ethic, it will take them a long way in life.  

Learn more about the Hamburg district's school farm plans

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