Farm receives helping hands

Faculty at Pierce has been volunteering and donating to the farm in hopes of saving it.

 

Department Chair of Agriculture Leland Shapiro has raised $11,000 dollars of donations from faculty and people around the community and four months worth of volunteers.

 

Though many of them have been professors, further information about the volunteers could not be obtained without their permission.

 

According to Shapiro everyone volunteering will be feeding the animals, watering the pasture and cleaning the cows.

 

Considering the fact that the farm has only two working men but one on sick leave, the job is undoubtedly impossible for one person to do everyday for consecutive hours.

 

“People don’t understand why we have to clean the cows once a day, its cruel to keep animals in a confined area and only clean once a week,” said Shapiro.

 

The U.S Department of Agriculture sets standards that include all aspects that go into maintaining the farm correctly, if violated the department can be fined $10,000 they don’t have.

 

The volunteers will help prevent those kinds of incidents.

 

The college administration has influenced decisions that could indeed further the farm successfully but without their permission Shapiro is out of luck.

 

Students are not allowed to volunteer on the farm without supervision and in order to do that someone has to be hired seven days a week, another spending the department can’t afford.

 

One of the main factors about the farm closing is the cost of feed and though many would use the $11,000 raised towards that, Shapiro didn’t.

 

He used $1,555 from last years farm walk money to buy seed to create three permanent pastures that would allow animals to be in larger areas where they could move freely.

 

With the $11,000, he bought three water wheels that diminish labor in watering the pastures. Smart move to begin the process in rescuing the farm.

 

“With three pastures it would probably cut my feed bill by half, it is more humane to have animals grazing in a pasture and you don’t have to clean as often,” said Shapiro.

 

Students are mainly affected by this situation because without hands on experience, the quality of education may not be good enough.

 

“For us to be successful and go into vet school, we have to work on the farm,” said Agricultural Ambassador of pre vet club Jennifer Artinian. “And this is the only program out here.”

 

Two kindergarten schools have been involved with donations to the farm, letters were sent to Shapiro with details on how the idea came about and what they are doing to raise money.

 

Haynes Street school in West Hills and The Center for Early Education in West Hollywood plan to attend the farm walk where they will present the donations.

 

“The kids are doing chores at home to earn the money,” Mindy Levine a teacher at Haynes Street elementary said in the letter written to Shapiro.

 

“Our goal is to raise fifty dollars, but I think with all the enthusiasm we will exceed that.” said Levine.

 

The kindergarten classes have attended the farm and Halloween festivals for the past seven years according to Janet Lee teacher at The Center for Early Education, .

 

‘The trip has been one of the highlights of our fall curriculum and we were devastated to learn you might have to close,” Lee said.

 

In an attempt to save the farm, the children will be making “farm illustrations” that will later become postcards and be sold for five dollars, the donations could add up to $500 by the time they present them to Shapiro.

 

“The fact that children are trying to raise money shows how the farm doesn’t only have an impact on our school but the community as a whole,” Maria Sance,20, Pierce student said.