HUNTINGTON, New York -- A historic Long Island farm has opened a school for young children, planting seeds at an early age about the importance of sustainability.
The owner of Kerber's Farm, Nick Voulgaris, saved the Huntington institution in 2013 when the family who owned it wanted to step away from the industry. Buyers eyeing the property were interested in building condominiums.
Voulgaris frequented the farm with his mother when he was growing up and loved its history, so he convinced the owner to sell it to him.
Founded in 1941, Kerber's is known for its fine baked goods, chickens, eggs, ice cream and fresh produce.
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"Over the last several years, I've been busy restoring with a great team that I have here," Voulgaris said.
Today, Kerber's Farm is one of the last remaining working farms in Huntington.
Voulgaris' most recent addition was not a new product to sell or a new vegetable to grow, but a full-fledged curriculum where children can learn how a farm works.
"It's really just amazing to see how smart these children are," Voulgaris said. "To see them return to the outdoors after being cooped up a year and a half is really a rewarding experience."
The 32-seat classroom offers specialized classes, from the art of beekeeping to knowing the ins and outs of a tractor.
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"I love just seeing them explore and just figure things out," said Laurel Dorfman, an employee who assists with the school courses. "The fact that they can do this right in their backyards is just really awesome."
The lessons are a combination of classroom training and hands-on farming experience.
"I really wanted to integrate a school in education into what we have here at Kerber's," Voulgaris said. "It's such a relevant and important time to focus on where our food is coming from. I think it is highly critical to educate people about where their food comes from as well as being able to grow your own food."
Voulgaris is excited that the classes are being filled up each week with young farmers ready to learn more about what life on the farm is all about.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone