4-H Urban Dwellers Come to the Country


Emma Drinkwater, a 13-year old growing up in Quincy Point said they don’t have much space, as the houses are very close to their neighbors. So close they can reach out and touch their neighbor’s home. She enjoys taking care of animals but knows this is impossible for her to do anywhere in her neighborhood. She is fortunate enough to have been invited to the Duxbury O’Neil Far, where she admits that it is a different world.
On the farm, she can help raise and care for animals, such as goats, chickens, pigs, and other animals. This is her seventh year helping out on the farm due to her participation in the Plymouth County 4-H clubs. It is now her second year showing dairy cows through a Farmtastic 4-H Club that specializes in livestock.
She doesn’t know if any of her friends in the city could deal with it but she is passionate about it and is among on of 100 Plymouth County 4-H members who participate in the Marshfield Fair every year. When the program began, it was a way to help farms kids show them the animals that they have raised. Now, they have altered the program to offer urban kids the chance to experience life on the farm, raising and taking care of animals.
The Marshfield Fair has leases with local farms, which allows 4-H club members the chance to care for animals that they can borrow from a participating farm. Participating farms include O’Neil Farm, Hingham’s Weir River Farm, and several others.
Participants sign an agreement that allows the 4-H members to lease an animal, visit and care for the animal and present it at the fair. The children are proud of their hard work because they receive many accolades and recognition for the work that they have done.
A 12-year-old from Scituate has been showing the same goat for three years. The goat is on lease to her from the Acres To Grow farm in Scituate. This year she will show a Nigerian Dwarf goat. The children prepare the farm animal that they will show at the fair. She trims their nails, hooves, bathes them, and more. They are responsible for every aspect of the display of their animal. The 12-year old said that likes the experience. Seeing how much she is enjoying the experience is likely why her 9-year old sister also started showing animals.
The participating members tend to naturally gravitate toward the animals that interest them, which is how they begin to take care of specific types of animals. Parents of both the children who live on farms and those who live in urban environments appreciate the level of interest that their child is showing. It teaches them many life skills that they can go on to use as they mature as adults.
They love taking care of the animals and receiving a pat on the back for their efforts.