Learning on the land is what a group of students from Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore recently spent a day doing.
Agriculture and foods students visited five different farms and businesses in North Glengarry and East Hawkesbury that show how agriculture is being practised and used in the region.
The stops on the tour included Dalagra Farms on the Laggan-Glenelg Road which grows hops, the all-organic Kirkview Farms nearby at Kirkhill, Starhill Farms in East Hawkesbury where the dairy herd is milked and fed robotically, Stonehouse Vineyard on Lochiel Road which is adapted for cold climates, and the Quirky Carrot Café in Alexandria where local produce is integrated into the menu.
At Kirkview Farms, Mike MacGillivray explained the regenerative, all organic processes he uses to raise livestock and grow crops, which reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.
“People are starting to want to know how animals are raised,” he told the students, while they amusedly watched Maggie, a 500-pound expectant sow walk across the field.
“The idea is to work with animals and understand them,” said MacGillivray.
Teacher Craig Stevenson said the tour was meant to open students’ minds about the value of different methods of agriculture and to show there are viable market opportunities in different areas of the industry.
MacGillivray said it was the first school tour that has visited his farm.
“It’s great to show them there are alternatives in agriculture,” he said.