On Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the University of Delaware will host its annual Ag Day event at Townsend Hall on the UD’s south campus.
A student-run community event celebrating its 43-year anniversary, Ag Day will have community and collegiate organizations on hand to show off agriculture and natural resources, as well as educate the public through numerous demonstrations, events, food and attractions.
Several clubs such as UD’s Food Science Club, Animal Science Club and Entomology Club will be present.
Ag Day—which has a 2018 theme of “Global Explorers”—will also have children’s games and activities, a livestock display with UD farm animals, musical entertainment, hayrides and much more.
This year, Ag Day will offer a new plant sale hosted by UD Fresh to You, a garden managed at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) that focuses on growing organic produce as a tool to help educate students interested in local and sustainable growth.
The UD Fresh to You program, which is managed by Mike Popovich, farm manager, is a fresh market vegetable program that offers internship opportunities to those studying plant science, soil science, agriculture and natural resources, food science and other related fields.
The program, which was started in 2013, gives interns the opportunity to grow vegetables year-round, thanks in part to two season extending high tunnels, and learn about production.
“It’s a learning environment. Interns can come and learn small scale vegetable production so that they can go off and do it on their own,” said Popovich.
This past January, the UD Fresh to You program was certified organic. After a three-year process to get certified, the organic farm now offers more teaching opportunities for students and allows them to learn more about organic production on a small scale.
In addition to learning the ins and outs of organic production, the work opportunities are greater now that they are certified organic.
“There is definitely more labor involved with the organic system. Not to take away from conventional farming in any way, but a lot of the tools that production method employs are not available to us,” said Popovich.
The increased labor helps Popovich reinforce the strong work ethic he feels is necessary to be successful whether farming two or 2,000 acres.
At the sale, visitors will be able to buy organic and heirloom plants as well as support the numerous students that benefit from the program.
The inaugural UD Fresh to You sale, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be in addition to the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG) annual spring plant sale.
The UDBG sale will take place for the general public on Friday, April 27 from 3-7 p.m. and on Ag Day from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Additional shopping days will be Thursday, May 3 from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday, May 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friends of UDBG will enjoy an exclusive day to shop on Thursday, April 26 from 3-7 p.m
Article by Julia Damiano
Photo by Wenbo Fan
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