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Barn Bookcases Help Bridgeport Students Understand The Rural Life

Librarian Lissette Valle will add the new barn bookcase to Park City Magnet School's library.
Librarian Lissette Valle will add the new barn bookcase to Park City Magnet School's library. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Schoolchildren in Bridgeport can learn more about rural living and healthy eating, thanks to a special donation from the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association’s Women’s Leadership Committee.

Committee members delivered specially crafted barn-shaped bookcases — filled with new books on beekeeping, maple production, vegetables, apple orchards and more — to four city schools as part of an effort to teach children about state farming.

The committee hoped to bring two bookcases to each of Connecticut’s counties this season, said Chairman Debbi Tanner.

“We wound up with 20 people offering to sponsor bookcases and books, so we could do a lot more,” she said.

Tanner and her husband, Austin, who own a bison farm in Brooklyn, Conn., stopped off at Park City Magnet School on Friday to deliver the bookcase and a memorable lesson on farming and food to 110 third- and fourth-graders gathered for an assembly.

The Tanners discussed the Connecticut agricultural scene and showed the kids how to make butter simply by shaking a jar full of cream.

“We want children — and their teachers — to understand where their food comes from,” Tanner said.

The school’s librarian, Lissette Valle, said the Tanners are always welcome at the school.

“This is wonderful, isn’t it?” she said.

The Women’s Leadership Committee takes on projects to enhance education and promote agricultural acumen and coordinates the Ag in the Classroom activities of the farm bureau.

In addition to Park City Magnet, representatives took bookcases to Classical Studies, Multicultural and High Horizons magnet schools and Beardsley School.

Books and materials for the bookcases were made possible by donations from the Fairfield County Farm Bureau, Snow’s Farm in Easton, Windham County Farm Bureau, Friends of Ambler Farm in Wilton, the Guilford Agricultural Society and Alyce Block, an FCFB member from Monroe.

Students from H.H. Ellis Technical High School in Danielson and Vinal Technical High School in Middletown made the bookcases.

The students were also invited to enter the 2016 First Peas Contest. Teams of students compete to grow the greatest amount of peas, measured in cups, using no more than 20 seeds between March 1 and May 16. For more information on the contest, visit the website here .

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