Dylan Leary ‘16 Discusses Farming with Fourth Grade

by: Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
Fourth graders are deep into their year-long unit on the environment and sustainability. This week they were able to Skype with Dylan Leary ‘16, a student at the Culinary Institute of America.

Dylan is spending this semester on an externship learning about how food grows and where our food comes from in the United States. Dylan is based in Southern California at Apricot Lane Farms. There, his team has the mission of creating a well-balanced ecosystem and rich soils that produce nutrient-dense foods, while treating the environment and the animals with respect. The farm includes a variety of animals, orchards, and approximately 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables.

When speaking with Shorecrest’s fourth graders, Dylan started by giving a brief history on how the food industry’s current situation came to be. He traced the chemicals being placed on our crops back to just after WWI, and talked about subsequent monocropping issues. He added that soon after the US started seeing large crop growth, machines were used for farming, genetically modified foods were being processed, and agricultural runoff caused environmental concerns.

At Apricot Lane Farms, farmers are attempting to regenerate the environment and our bodies by using more natural farming methods, hoping to yield more nutrients in the crops and soil. An example he gave of smart farming was allowing ducks to roam in the orchards when they have a snail problem. The snails roam free, the ducks eat them, and the duck eggs are later sold.

Dylan said that as a farm intern he gets to work with animals, garden, tend to the vermiculture, work in the orchard, help in the kitchen, represent the farm at farmers markets - but his favorite part is cooking what he harvests!

Thank you Dylan for making time for other Chargers and answering a lot of intriguing questions! They hope to put your advice to work in Shorecrest campus gardens.

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.