Making a new farm friend at the chicken coop at the Rockland Farm Alliance Agricultural Education Program in New City last week are, from left: Aidan Smith, Ellie McCluskey and Ella Smith.

Orange and Rockland has contributed $20,000 to the Rockland Farm Alliance (RFA) to help support the expansion of RFA’s Agricultural Education Program with an initiative aimed at giving low-income students a greater understanding of how their food is grown and how it gets from the field to the table.

The O&R donation will be directed toward assisting the farm in maintaining infrastructure needed to implement, support and maintain a robust, hands-on education program at Cropsey Community Farm, a 25-acre, small-scale working organic farm in New City. Between single site visits by public school classes in the spring and fall, and a summer camp experience for 250 students, RFA has a target outreach audience of 650 students.

Over the past six years, 4,000 students and hundreds of adult have enjoyed the unique learning opportunities provided by the RFA at Cropsey Farm.

RFA Chief Executive Officer John McDowell said, “The success of the education program to date led the RFA to recognize the need to expand not only the scope of our offerings but also the populations we serve, connecting more students from underserved areas throughout Rockland County to the Agricultural Education Program during the school year.”

O&R President and CEO Robert Sanchez said, “There are few better examples of science in action than a working farm. And, this program makes that science accessible, engaging and fun through daily hands-on farm chores from picking tomatoes and beans to gathering eggs and tending chickens.”

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