Family-owned farms gives students a greater appreciation for the world around them

Students discuss how working on their family farm has changed their lives

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By Submitted by Maddie Hanna

At her family’s farm in Tonganoxie, sophomore Maddie Hanna grows crops to enjoy and help the environment.

Gabby Delpleash, JagWire reporter/photographer

In suburban Kansas, where the expectation of vast farms, wheat fields, and hay bales are far from the reality of what’s really in Shawnee, a small group of students can attest to having agriculture play an essential role in their life.

For sophomore Maddie Hanna, who’s daily commute to school is 28 minutes, the recent move to a farm in Tonganoxie has encouraged her family to grow more of their own produce and raise livestock.

“The four of us moved to the farm in early August of 2020. The land is 10 acres with a garden space where we grow onions, tomatoes, potatoes, beans and asparagus along with some radishes,” Hanna said. “We have several fruit trees that grow apples and pears, and we’re looking into getting chickens this coming summer.”

Working outside more often now than before, Hanna credits her family’s farm for her newfound worldliness.

“I can definitely identify plants better than before. Previously I had no idea what an onion looked like,” Hanna said. “Moving here has taught me more about the world around me.”

Farming has

By Hannah Chern

held a special place in senior Theresa Bell’s family for over 50 years. Both of Bell’s grandparents own farms in northern central Missouri where Bell occasionally helps with carrying out intermediate tasks.

“During the summer I get to help with preserving some of the garden vegetables. One of the biggest activities with the gardens are canning tomato juice and preserving the corn,” Bell said. “The tomato juice my family makes is always better tasting than store bought.”

Both farms of Bell’s family were primarily purchased so that it could be a place “distant from neighbors” and could be used for “hunting, fishing, and bailing hay” according to Theresa’s mother Candy Bell. 

Working on her grandfathers’ farms for over a decade has taught Bell more about herself than she expected.

“I have learned that I like being in the country and having the ability to grow my own vegetables. I like working with plants and watching them grow, and being able to literally enjoy the fruits of my labor,” Bell said. “I am able to grow a few plants at my house but it is nothing like what my family does in the country.”

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