Young Bloods: Valeria Emmett
Farm Educator, Sugar Roots Farm
At Sugar Roots Farm, New Orleans kids of all ages learn about sustainable farming, composting and the humane treatment of farm animals. Located within Orleans Parish, this unique farm gives local kids a firsthand look at sustainable agriculture. Sugar Roots Farm was founded by Sharessa Garland, who used her background in animal husbandry and farming to create this kid-friendly educational space. To learn more about the farm’s daily activities, I spoke with Valeria Emmett, a Farm Educator who’s very passionate about her work.
“What’s amazing is that Sharessa took an idea that’s so basic: Where does your food come from? You think it’s something people should know, but they just don’t,” says Emmett. “Now thousands of kids will know where their food comes from.” And the kids learn these lessons in a hands-on, engaging way.
For starters, the farm is home to a variety of animals, including chickens, cows, ducks, horses, llamas, rabbits and even pot-bellied pigs. Visiting kids get the opportunity to groom, feed and simply interact with these animals. Humane care is emphasized.
Next, kids also learn about the farm’s efforts to reuse food waste. Currently, Sugar Roots Farm keeps thousands of pounds of food waste from going into the dump, instead turning it into feed for the animals or compost. (And with food coming from places such as Trader Joe’s, these animals are eating pretty well.) After learning about the benefits of composting, many kids are invited to put these ideas into practice with compost bins at their schools.
This charming farm has already become a huge hit among area children. Sometimes over one hundred kids visit in a day to tour the farm. In addition to the many educational components, visiting children also get the chance to run around in fresh air and play in the dirt, AKA just be kids.
In addition to the field trips, Sugar Roots Farm also hosts retreats, birthday parties and a two-week summer camp. Plus, the farm is having Baby Animal Month on Saturdays in April, when everyone is invited to come visit the newest residents at Sugar Roots Farm.
At this time, Sugar Roots Farm is in need of volunteer educators, fundraisers and grant writers. Donations to help with veterinary bills and additional farm expenses are also welcome.
Sugar Roots Farm is located at 10701 Willow Drive. Contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, online at SugarRootsFarm.org or call 296-0435 for opening times.