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School Harvest 

Wayne Harvey

Some students get a couple of weeks off to help out with the harvests in our state, getting the crops out of the fields.At the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, the students are working on getting their harvest in.But they’re doing so not for work, but for class.”It’s actually a lot easier than I thought,” said 8th Grader Autumn Jackson. “I thought we’d have to work a lot more harder, but it’s like it comes to most of us.”The students are taking part in an agricultural class at the school. In the spring, they turn over the soil and plant the seeds. In the summer, they stop into school and make sure everything is growing right. Now that school is back in session, the vegetables have to be picked.”I thought it’d be just gardening but we get to go out and work on the trails,” said Austin Dickey, an 8th Grader at Troy Howard Middle School. “And we get to build like the outdoor kitchen we got to work on that and stuff”The food is sold to a co-op in the area, given to a local soup kitchen, and used as part of the menu at the school’s cafeteria.It’s also making it easy to have students learn in a different, yet fun way.”Inside I think it’s boring from learning like writing on a chalk board,” said 8th Grader Austin Sprague. “I like learning in a fun way, being outside and learning it from stuff like tools and stuff I think it’s easier like hands on learning.””Kids who just learn in different ways like working with their hands, people will say well they’re not very bright, well they are bright, in just a different way and I have them doing all kinds of things out here,” said Jon Thurston who is the agricultural coordinator for RSU 20.”I want them to have a connection with the soil again, with the ground and how to grow things a lot of the kids have lost touch with that. Some of these kids have gardens at home but in Maine it used to be a big deal, and hopefully this will stick with them and when they get older they’ll say I think I’ll grow a garden, or maybe they might even go into the field of agriculture.”In the past, the kids have taken some of their vegetables to the Common Ground Fair, where they’ve won 70 ribbons.