Meet Organic School Gardens Amdassador "Farmer Steve"!
Organic farmer Steve Skopilianos of Ladybird Organics brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the program! Not only has “Farmer Steve” taken on a role as ambassador he is the ‘Adopt a Farmer’ Program’s first ‘adopted farmer’.
Steve is very passionate and enjoys educating children about organic fruit and vegetables and teaching them that they can feel confident what they are eating is truly good for them.
Steve is a third generation farmer and part of one of Melbourne’s oldest vegetable growing businesses, which converted to organic production in 2005.
"As a father of three children I had concerns for the lack of taste as well as the chemicals in food, and the impact they have on our environment,” he said.
“I look forward to teaching children the importance of putting people and the environment first, starting with caring for our soils."
Farmer Steve hosted Coburg Primary School for the launch of the Adopt a Farmer Program, he says the children were so interested in learning about the farm and how the food is produced that he could barely field all of the questions they were asking him.
“I couldn’t believe how hungry they were for information; they were just engrossed, and absorbed everything I was telling them about life on a farm,” Steve said.
“That shows me that there is a need there, a need filled by programs like BFA’s Adopt-a-Farmer, which really hits the nail on the head, square on. “We heard kids saying ‘this is the best ever’ – and they were not at Luna Park or Seaworld, they were on a farm. It was so rewarding for everyone involved to see the joy on their faces.
When one of the children asked Steve if he could take a zucchini home, Steve says he was amazed. “When a kid says ‘can I take a zucchini home’ [laughs]. Come on, zucchinis are not an adult’s favourite vegetable let alone a kid’s!”
Steve says he would absolutely recommend this program to other farmers as a way to help educate young people and introduce them to farming practises.
“It doesn’t matter where you are, there is a school nearby that would benefit from a farm excursion or a visit from a farmer.
“These kids were interested in everything – so it doesn’t matter what you grow – they want to know about it.”
Helen Kavouras, coordinator of the gardening program at Coburg Primary School said the program is an excellent way for students to learn about where food comes from and make them think about different aspects of food production.
“The questions the students were asking were their own – so they were thinking about appropriate types of things to ask in connection to what they were observing or what Steve said in his opening speech,” Helen said.
“Feedback from both the classroom teachers and the students themselves is very positive, and they enjoyed their visit out to the farm immensely.”
The Organic School Gardens Team are absolutely thrilled to have Steve on board the program, he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and a bountiful supply of enthusiasm just ask the children of Coburg Primary!
Check out photos Farmer Steve in action, with TV gardening star Vasili and the Coburg Primary School children at Ladybird Organics at the Adopt a Farmer Launch.
Find out more about the Adopt a Farmer Program.