By Shawn Russell, Staff Reporter

UMF students at Sandy River Farm event (Photo Courtesy of Brooke Nichols)

UMF students at Sandy River Farm event (Photo Courtesy of Brooke Nichols)

The UMF Health Promotion and Disease Prevention class (HEA 310) and Sandy River Farms recently teamed-up to organize an event that benefitted the community and the students alike. The event, “Grandparents Day”, was a health promotion program with the goal of increasing community members’ physical activity and commitment to good health.

“Our class has been working on this project since the beginning of the semester and we have worked together to do something that we were all truly passionate about,” said Brooke Nichols, a senior at UMF and student in the class.  The program included a variety of booths, including a nutritional cooking activity with free zucchini pumpkin bread, a cider press, a photo booth, a heart rate booth, and a physical activity story booth.  Other activities included face painting and a pony ride station.

“Overall a good number of community members showed up, walked the corn maze, and took an interest in the health promotion booths,” said Tyler Adams, a junior student in the class.  

Adams, along with other members in the course, directed significant amounts of time and energy toward the project.  “The class spent a good chunk of the first half of the semester planning and implementing the program which included advertising, collecting resources, and constant communication with the owner of Sandy River Farms,” said Adams.  

“Even though it was cold and windy, there was still a good turnout,” said Herbert “Bussie” York, owner of Sandy River Farms.  Herbert and his wife Brenda have operated the farm since 1961, which now includes over 125 cattle, a 10 acre corn maze, a vegetable stand, and various agricultural fields and infrastructure. The farm is located on the Farmington Falls Road, two miles outside of Farmington on the right if one is headed toward New Sharon.

“The kids came early and some stayed all afternoon,” said York, impressed with the students’ work ethic.  York likes to collaborate with UMF as much as possible, as he admires student interest in agriculture and the corn maze itself.

“I look forward to a continued relationship with the college, for we want to offer rural activity for the students and their families”, said York. “I appreciate the fact the students want to get out and check out the agriculture and the nitty-gritty aspect of the land,” said York.  

“It was fun, and the farm owners said we really changed the image of the college students in their eyes and wouldn’t mind having us back,” said Adams.

If anyone has any questions regarding the services of Sandy River Farms, they can be reached at sandyriverfarms.com, or at the farm at 560 Farmington Falls Road.