October 18, 2008

Young Gardeners and Farmers

One of the great things about visiting the North Carolina State Fair is to see the exhibits from the youth of our state. Many students from 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) participate in activities such as livestock, poultry, farming or gardening competitions and displays. Youth often participate independently as seen in the showing of horses and other animals at the fair.

For those without live animals, there is also another fun competition for high school students. Several of the state high schools participated in a Barnyard Scramble Animal Frenzy competition. The barnyard animals are large-scale critters painted with zany and fun decorations. These delightful animals are on display around the fairgrounds. The "blank" animals were given to participating high schools. The students then went to work painting the livestock to go with the State Fair theme of "Take Time for a Great Time."

At the flower and garden show, all of the themed garden exhibitors were required to supply a garden plan, a plant list and a written description of their gardens.

The Wakefield High School FFA of Benson, NC created a "Charleston Garden" display for the gardening competion.

A "Patchwork Quilt" garden was the work of students at Wakefield High School in Raleigh. If you look carefully, you can see the "headboard and footboard" of the "garden bed" in this display.

Although my interest in attending the Fair was based upon the Flower and Garden Show, I also enjoy seeing the younger ones showing their farm-raised cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Even in the poultry and rabbits, there are junior competitions. There are also craft and food-related competitions for the junior set. Many times, the awards are in the form of scholarships. Corporate sponsors bid on the winning market animals in an auction, with the funds going back to the children who raised the animals.

In this modern world of ours, it's great to see that there are still so many young people learning, and caring about, the basics of farming and gardening.

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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