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A day at the farm

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For the second year in a row, the IRC in NJ’s Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA) visited Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ for a field trip. All year, students from last year’s RYSA raved about how much fun they had at the farm. The day offers a different experience in New Jersey for refugee youth served by the IRC in NJ, as they largely live in Roselle and Elizabeth.  

RYSA takes weekly field trips during the program. 2019 was RYSA's second year at Alstede Farms in Chester.

Photo: Mason Levinson/IRC.

Sunflower mazes, peach picking, and sharing the names for vegetables across languages were the highlights of the field trip. 77 refugee students from all over the world were accompanied on the trip by their teachers and the RYSA staff. The friendly team at Alstede Farms guided students on tractor rides and taught students about the different kinds of produce grown on the farm. It was truly a celebration of these new New Jerseyans in the Garden State. 

One student mentioned she visited the farm last year with RYSA, and was so excited to be back because peaches are her favorite fruit. The students worked together to pick the perfect peaches, excited to bring the fruit home to share with their families. Students also saw different farm animals, like cows, chickens, sheep, goats, and donkeys, and learned about the many aspects of farm life, from crops to livestock. The animals were a big hit! 

Peach picking in the orchard is a highlight for both students and staff.

Photo: Mason Levinson/IRC.

The day was capped by a special treat from Farmer Kurt, a taste of homemade ice cream from the farm stand. The students loaded up on the bus with their bags full of fresh picked peaches and bellies full of delicious ice cream.  

Some students said they planned to work at the farm when they grew up, and hoped to be farmers themselves one day. Alstede Farms certainly made an impression on the students! A big thank you to Alstede Farms for working with our large group for the second year in a row; the students loved it even more this year. 

Staff had as much fun as the students at Alstede Farms!

Photo: Mason Levinson/IRC.

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