Kids Farm Days

Giving children the chance to experience life on the farm.

By Jess Huber, Programming Associate

America’s Grow-a-Row’s (AGAR) Kids Farm Days (KFDs) began in 2007 when the Everittown United Methodist Church told our Founder, Chip Paillex they would be hosting a field trip for Camp YDP, a Paterson-based community center. Camp leader, Ms. Maria and Chip thought it would be a great idea to bring the campers out to AGAR to learn about farming and fresh produce, thus Camp YDP became the first group of students to launch the KFD program. As more schools reached out to plan their visits, we realized we’d need to recruit more volunteers to provide a hands-on, educational, and enriching day for the children at the farm. In early 2010, we began recruiting teens as camp counselors to provide each child with an unforgettable experience and a safe space to learn and try new things on our farm.

“My favorite part (of Kids Farm Days) was being able to teach the campers new things while having fun… Their excitement when harvesting the produce was infectious and I loved being able to contribute to that!” – Ella, 2023 KFD Teen Volunteer 

KFDs are now a two-week program in July where we host children from underserved communities with little or no access to open space, farms, or fresh produce for a fun-filled day to learn about agriculture and where our food comes from. KFDs are unique because many of the children who come to our farm are stepping foot on a produce farm for the first time. They are so excited to learn how to harvest the produce together, which they then bring home at the end of the day. Our campers have harvested zucchini, peaches, corn, cucumbers, string beans and more, and often it’s their first time eating a fresh vegetable that they picked right off the plant, like green beans.

When our campers arrive, they are split into two groups that swap midway through the day: the first goes into a produce field that our farmers have dedicated and grown just for this program while the second group starts culinary activities with Chef Shauna at the barn. The campers learn basic culinary and knife skills, then make a delicious snack from the produce that is grown on our farm. By providing our campers with hands-on cooking education, we are empowering them to try new foods while teaching them a new practical skill. 

Today, the program hosts over 900 children annually and our 2024 partners include: Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County (Hoboken & Jersey City locations), Boys & Girls Club of Newark, East Orange YMCA, Gilmore Christian Academy, Joseph H. Firth Youth Center, Morristown Neighborhood House, New Community Corp, Oasis, Rise Summer Camp Salvation Army Kroc Center, and Team Walker.

Through nearly 20 years and thousands of children hosted through KFDs, it’s a privilege watching our campers make the connection about where their food comes from, knowing that this experience is one they’ll never forget!

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