Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders visit MTSU...

Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders visit MTSU Farm

LASCASSAS, Tenn. — Approximately 600 Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders from six schools experienced MTSU farm life during a field trip May 16. The field trip is the culminating event for third grade as part of the Farm to School curriculum.

About half of the third-graders learned about the MTSU gardens, while the rest took in the dairy portion of the university’s Experiential Learning and Research Center. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented the remaining schools from attending the farm field trip.

MTSU's Matthew Wade discusses food for farm animals.

Matthew Wade, top left, director of the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center in Lascassas, Tenn., tells Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders about the varieties of feed for farm animals May 16 during the Farm to School field trip. The center includes the MTSU farm and dairy. (MCS photo by Tori England)

The students learned about cows, calves and other farm animals, drank chocolate milk from the MT Dairy, made crafts out of dried beans, churned butter and learned the necessity of honey bees as well as about farm equipment and many aspects of the working farm, which is located in Lascassas, Tennessee.

“The field trip is only one part of the Farm to School program that spans throughout the year,” said Darla Sampson, City Schools coordinated school health coordinator. “Our program includes gardening, classroom curriculum, Chef Academy and more activities for learning throughout the year.”

MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience students, faculty and staff shared information about the dairy, the garden and life on a farm. The farm tour featured educational stations on tractor and equipment safety, dairy production, crafts, garden areas, grain production, honey bees, and making butter.

“Farm to School programs are a great way to get students excited about healthy eating and learning about food production,” said Sandy Scheele, MCS coordinator of nutrition.

Murfreesboro City Schools' third-graders view and pet a goat.

Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders make friends with a goat during the May 16 Farm to School visit to the MTSU Farm in Lascassas, Tenn. (MCS photo by Tori England)

Organizers say Farm to School enriches the connection students and communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips.

The Farm to School field trip is a partnership with MTSU and MCS. Volunteers from Farm Credit Mid-America and the Rutherford County Health Department participated in the education stations. The Farm Bureau Ag Simulator was a new aspect of the event this year.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. The School of Agribusiness and Agriscience is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

— Lisa Trail (

Third-graders visit the MTSU garden.

Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders tour the MTSU garden during their annual Farm to School field trip May 16 at the MTSU Farm and Dairy in Lascassas, Tenn. (MCS photo by Tori England)