A big and warm welcome to 2017 Grow Whidbey School Farm curriculum apprentice Ryan Viscito!
I grew up associating agriculture with vast corn fields, crowded cows, the pungent smell of commercial mushroom production, and the horse-powered farms of the Amish. I spent most of my life in eastern Pennsylvania, surrounded by yet disconnected from agriculture.
I did not realize this disconnect until two years ago. After earning a degree in early grades education, I moved to California to live, teach, and learn on an educational farm. There, I developed a connection with my food and the earth which had a profoundly positive impact on my well being. I simultaneously realized the potential of farm-based education to create similarly powerful experiences for children.
As I learned more about agriculture and ecology, my interest grew into a passion. I went back to Pennsylvania last year to farm full-time, and while I enjoyed it, I felt like something crucial was missing from the equation. I came to Whidbey to not only share my love of farming with others, but also to facilitate joy and wonder, and to inspire children to live happy, healthy lives. The school farm is an incredible place to do so, and I am grateful to be a part of it.