Students in after-school program at Highland spending five weeks learning about the ‘Five F’s of Agriculture’

    Students enrolled in the after-school care program at Highland School one day this week and one day a week for the next month are learning all about agriculture and, specifically, the “Five F’s of Agriculture.” This week’s lesson was all about the first “F,” which stands for “fiber,” and one of the activities the students partook in had them making their own bracelet, necklace or braided chain out of hemp.

    The five-week initiative is being coordinated by the University of Minnesota Crookston’s Office of Outreach and Engagement, led by Michelle Christopherson. The “Ag in the Classroom” program is being made possible by a financial gift from Pine Lake Wild Rice (PLWR) in Gonvick, Minnesota.

    Highland School Principal Chris Trostad said the initiative got off to a great start this week, and the students are already eager for next week’s program.

    “I’d like to thank Michelle (Christopherson) and her staff for all the time and efforts for reaching out to Highland School to provide this opportunity for our kids,” Trostad said. “Michelle personally put a lot of time and effort into this to make it a wonderful experience for our kids. This is a great partnership with our school and UMC.”

    Upcoming programs will be held on Jan. 23 and 27, Feb. 6 and 10, and Feb. 13, if need be. With “fabric” covered, upcoming activities will focus on Food, Farming, Flowers and Forestry.

    "This is a great way to further explore science and agriculture,” Christopherson noted, adding that four UMN Crookston Agriculture Education and Marketing students assisted and prepared the lesson plan in conjunction with the Minnesota Ag in the Classroom curriculum. “These young professionals gained a lot of classroom management experience and we are looking forward to our next visit to Highland," Christopherson said.

    There are approximately 50 students enrolled in the free after-school program at Highland. The students will gain a stronger appreciation of agriculture and discover career pathways in agriculture and the food industry, Christopherson explained, adding that the gift from PLWR comes with a commitment to increase awareness of science, agriculture and sustainability, including food-security.

    School districts interested in learning more may contact Christopherson at or 281-8369.