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UMaine Extension program coming to Monticello to teach young people about farming

MONTICELLO, Maine — The University of Maine Cooperative Extension program wants to introduce young people across the state to the processes behind modern farming, and Corey Farms in Monticello is one of the places they plan to do it. 

The “Fridays on the Farm” program is the first of a series of educational initiatives from the cooperative’s Agricultural Leadership Ambassador Program. It’s one of four planned at farms across Maine, with previous sessions already having taken place in Raymond and Farmington. It is geared toward youths ages 12 to 18 years old and it is free to sign up. The Monticello event is scheduled for July 30. 

“Our program is really aimed to introduce young people who have never really been on a farm or never been on this type of crop farm specifically,” said Alisha Targonski, one of the organizers of the program for UMaine and an Aroostook County native. “And what we’re really going to do is really kind of dig into some of the science that goes on in farming.”

The Aroostook County location was originally intended for Island Falls, but a last-minute change will bring the students to Monticello instead. 

At Corey Farms, teens and pre-teens will learn about the development of seed potato, and the uses of tractors and GPS systems for planting. The program will also feature a demonstration on how to properly harvest potatoes. 

Targonski said she hopes the program encourages more young people to consider a career in agriculture and to learn about where their food comes from. With this summer also free of social distancing and most pandemic restrictions, it’s a way to resume educational opportunities in an outdoor learning environment. 

“This is really our post-COVID summertime learning series,” said Targonski. “We need young people. We need a future generation that is interested. So this is sort of a response to what we were hearing from growers.”

Parents wishing to register their preteen or teen for the program may do so by visiting: https://extension.umaine.edu/4h/4-h-summer-learning/fridays-on-the-farm-registration/

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