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Jan 31, 2017 10:41 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Share The Harvest Farm Starts Young Farmers Training Initiative

Marielle Ingram, left, and Melissa Mapes Miller of the Share the Harvest Farm at their greenhouse at EECO Farm in East Hampton. JON WINKLER
Feb 2, 2017 12:07 PM

Soon, East Hampton teens will have a chance to get their hands dirty to support healthy eating.

The Share the Harvest Farm in East Hampton (formerly known as the Food Pantry Farm) will start its first-ever young farmers training initiative this summer. The initiative will allow local high school students to learn about organic farming and work alongside farmers at the greenhouse and farm at EECO Farm—which is, conveniently, located just across Long Lane from East Hampton High School. Participants will learn from Share the Harvest’s professional farmers and members of the farm’s college internship program two days a week, with Mondays and Wednesdays dedicated to field work and Tuesdays and Thursdays focused on community outreach.

“We have our college internship program with kids coming from all over the U.S. and internationally too,” explained Melissa Mapes Miller, the community supported agriculture coordinator of Share the Harvest Farm.

“We grew up out here, so we thought, ‘What about the kids in East Hampton High?’ Farming is in the history of our town’s land and our family farmed, so it’s nice to keep it alive.”

Accompanying Ms. Miller at the greenhouse this week was the farm’s field manager, Marielle Ingram.

“The history of Long Island is based on various forms of agriculture,” Ms. Ingram said. “We’re looking for ways to make food healthy and safe. The main goal is to make this produce a right, not a privilege.”

Share the Harvest is a nonprofit organization started in 2008 with a mere half-acre to use on the EECO Farm property. The nonprofit now operates on 6 acres and plans to expand further to grow more organic produce. Share the Harvest sells fresh produce at a farm stand near the farm’s entrance in summer, and also donates food to the Retreat women’s shelter, the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, and affordable housing complexes like Whalebone Village.

“The majority of people who visit here in the summer agree that this is what we need, not extremely expensive designer stores” Ms. Miller said. “I was shocked to hear that from tourists who I thought that those stores were what they came for, so that makes me very happy.”

Ms. Miller said she will be contacting local schools soon to send out sign-up sheets for the training initiative and hopes to offer future programs for kids as young as preschoolers.

“Farming is an extremely satisfying experience because you can actually see your accomplishment grow,” Ms. Ingram said.

“Even if the kids don’t like farming, they have a newfound respect for where their food comes from,” Ms. Miller said. “We hope to encourage a new generation to continue farming for this wonderful community.”

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Amazing work everyone. This sounds like a great organization and a fantastic program. Best wishes to those involved!
By SH_Res (342), Southampton on Jan 31, 17 3:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
way to go mapes! i mean miller ha ha
By BrianWilliams (87), on Jan 31, 17 5:17 PM
This is GREATt!! Farming is such an important part of our history here on the island. I hope to see more of the schools adopt programs such as this. Kudos to you Ms Miller !
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Feb 1, 17 7:25 AM