Falcon Farmers

Faculty members Michael Agosto, Courtney Jackson, Caitlin McDermott, Marc Onion and Alison Schaefer, along with some fans, spend a portion of their long weekend honoring Peddie's heritage by participating in the "Worlds Greatest Farmer Showdown." Despite the fact that they are not, of course, farmers, the team brought home a third place trophy - Ala viva!

It was a crisp fall day when a Peddie yellow bus full of Falcons rolled out onto Main Street headed for the Greener Partners Longview Center for Agriculture. That day was Sunday, October 20th, and the Falcons were excited to compete once again in The World's Greatest Farmer Showdown! 

Greener Partners, an agricultural and educational non-profit outside Philadelphia, is "dedicated to building community through sustainable farming and farm-based education". For more info about what they're doing, check out their website!! http://greenerpartners.org/

As part of their mission of "connecting communities through food, farms, and education," they host various events including the Farmer Showdown, which brings together teams of farmers from several farms in the greater Philadelphia area for a day of friendly competition, education, awareness of Greener Partners' offerings and programs, food, and copious amounts of both smiles and high fives. 

Last year, four of us Falcons heard about the Showdown and decided to test our skills even though we are teachers by trade and no way actual farmers
except for our connection to Peddie's old school seal and our motto. Coming in 4th our of eight teams was a victory for us, and we immediately started looking forward to this year's competition. 

So this past Sunday, we boarded a bus and headed out to the Longview Center with the goals of having fun and getting at least 4th place again. 

Pulling in, we quickly scaled the grounds to see if we could figure out what the events would be. Once we parked, checked in, and put on our official zebra striped team bandannas, we fueled up with a hearty farmer breakfast and got our game faces on...literally. Caitlin McDermott, our new biology teacher, brought face paint with which we gave each other battle marks. 

Once we looked fierce, we made sure to greet our competitors and size them up while making friends as well. The other farmers were mostly in their 20's and 30's and are part of the current local food movement that has been gaining speed over the past decade or so. Hearing their stories of how they got into farming was awesome and, considering the impacts they collectively have on the health and well-being of their communities, is inspiring. We are truly lucky to have such dedicated people working to better our land and our lives. 

Soon enough, the MC of the event called us in for a team meeting to go over the rules and events...

Event #1: Pumpkin shot put. It's harder than you think. Try chucking a medium sized pumpkin 10 yards. But our very own Mike Agosto in Admissions took home pumpkin honors being the only one to hit the center of the target!!! Needless to say that when his throw flew so true, the crowd went wild! The other Falcons who gave this event their best shot are English teacher, Marc Onion, Spanish teacher, Allison Schaefer, and me. After valiant efforts from all, we felt good about out points going into the next event in Third Place.

Event #2: Wheelbarrow RaceThis was a relay race involving a line of hay bales, pumpkins, and a wheelbarrow. Marc Onion, went first and thoughtfully placed our six pumpkins in our wheelbarrow in order to make sure they would all stay when he took off. They did! Next was Caitlin McDermott, who did well to keep the pumpkins intact and quickly executed her leg of the race. I was up next and after watching Marc and Caitlin, had my strategy all planned out. I swiftly dodged the hay bales that were set up as obstacles, and even earned the nickname, Crazylegs, from the MC. Mike Agosto was our anchor and brought us home in good time. In our race off heat for third place in the event, I represented our team and had the unfortunate luck of having a pumpkin fall out of the wheelbarrow THREE times! Oh the horror. Still, I received several high fives when I returned to the Falcon nest, and immediately looked forward to the next event knowing we'd do better...

Event #3: Turnip Eating. That's right. Turnip eating. Raw turnip eating. Caitlin McDermott stepped up BIG for this event and volunteered to be the Falcon who competed in this unique competition. The rules? Eat as many raw turnips as you can in 2 minutes. After some good weather, the turnips at Longview were MASSIVE. McDermott, to her credit, ate just over a half pound of one, and secured second place and crucial points for us. Her focus and determination during the whole event was inspiring, and we all took that with us into the final event...

Event #4: Tractor Pull. Arguably our favorite event, the tractor pull combines the efforts of all team members and tests their brute strength and muscular endurance. After looking at pictures from last year's pull in which we got second overall, we settled on our order and hand positions, and got ready to put our best forming feet forward. We heaved, we hoed, and dragged the tractor about 30 yards to a third place finish.  

Once the events were complete, we relaxed and got ready for the award ceremony. Pictures were taken, high fives were given, and we received our third place trophy, which we hope will be added to the trophy cases in the Athletic Center.

The ride home was a quiet one, but not lacking in spirits. After such a fun-filled day complete with friends, family, and competition, we were certain that we kicked off our Long Weekend the perfect way....and also started looking ahead to next year!!! What a day...