For the second summer in a row the Five Star Chile Farm, ran by Commissioner Glen Duggins and his son Kyle, kicked off its summer youth camp on June 19. Working with the Socorro Youth Center and Director Cindy Rivera, kids have the opportunity to visit the Lemitar farm on Wednesday mornings beginning at 9 a.m. for early stage lessons in agricultural practices.
“It is very important for kids to stay connected to agriculture,” Duggins said. “In the past we’ve failed as farmers to get the young boys and girls excited about this kind of work. But you can see the kids running around enjoying themselves and you can see how happy they are to be outside.”
During the initial first ‘Farm Day’ the kids were unable to hit the fields as the crops had just been irrigated. They will be allowed to do so later on in the summer and keep what they pick.
On this early morning they were broken up into two groups and armed with multiple hoe tools as they went at weeded areas on the farm while also playing around with one another.
High school aged counselors currently working for Finley Gym were on sight helping to monitor as well as guide the young group in proper farming techniques. Edgar Perez is a staff member and was getting his hands dirty all morning.
“This is an important learning experience for them,” he said. “Teaching the kids to learn the importance of hard labor but also having fun at the same time. Get togethers such as these and others we put on are a great way to hopefully show the youth how to do the right thing and make positive choices going forward.”
Duggins was also showing the group around the farm explaining fundamentals while always making sure they were properly hydrated.
“When we started this a lot of these kids had never even picked a tomato,” he said. “Same with things like corn. They didn’t know a good one from a bad one. They aren’t around that world anymore and it’s good to show them how food is produced and what it took to get there on the dinner table. But the reward with get togethers like this is unbelievable. Just seeing the smiles on all of their faces is so amazing every time they visit. Being connected to the youth is such a blessing. On days like these I’m not a Commissioner, I’m just Glen having fun with the group.”
Planned weekly trips to the Five Star Chile Farm will take place through the end of July. To get your kids involved contact the City of Socorro Youth Center.