Submitted by Whatcom Family Farmers

Whatcom Family Farmers launched the Virtual Farm Circle today, transforming the traditionally in-person event to an online activity for this fall in response to pandemic restrictions. The online activity uses a set of three illustrated maps, showing a dairy farm, raspberry farm and seed potato farm, to direct students to a series of short videos highlighting various aspects of local agriculture. Accompanying worksheets guide the students through the activities.

The program was created with third-grade students in mind, and aligns with national life science and environmental science educational standards, but is appropriate for all elementary-aged students.

“We heard in past years that the Whatcom Farm Circle was the highlight of the year for many third-grade students, and we wanted to bring that same level of excitement to the Virtual Farm Circle,” said Gavin Willis, Outreach Director at Whatcom Family Farmers. “Incorporating video footage from local Whatcom County farms into the fun illustrated maps allows students to make connections between the different parts of a farm, and to the food that they eat every day. Since we can’t bring students to the farms this year, we decided to bring the farms to the students!”

In past years the Whatcom Farm Circle hosted more than 850 third grade students over the course of a three-day event at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds. Those students attended from Bellingham, Lynden, Blaine, Nooksack, Mt. Baker and Ferndale school districts, as well as from a number of local private schools. The annual event, which is free for schools, comes on the heels of National Farm-to-School month.

Whatcom Family Farmers is a local non-profit organization focused on preserving a future for farming in Whatcom County by participating in outreach, education and advocacy on behalf of Whatcom County’s farming families. To participate in the Virtual Farm Circle, download worksheets and see a full list of participating sponsors and partners, please visit https://whatcomfamilyfarmers.org/farmcircle

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