Environmental Science Class Visits Local Dairy Farm
Fifteen KUA students from Tom Lord’s Environmental Studies class visited McNamara Dairy on River Road in Plainfield on a sparkling Spring morning this week as part of their focus on understanding sustainable agriculture. McNamara’s supplies KUA with its milk and dairy products and is known in the Upper Valley as one of the finest full service dairies, and one of the best examples of sustainable farms in the region. The class got a tour of the dairy from former KUA parents and dairy owners Mary and Pat McNamara '76, who explained to the students that everything the dairy uses, from wood for the buildings to natural fertilizer for their fields comes from the dairy’s property and livestock. Such a commitment to sustainability was not lost on students like senior Jesse Chuku from London, England, who, like most of his classmates, had never been on a working farm before. Toasting classmates with a glass of milk back on campus, Jesse said “Wow. This is so fresh! To think that the milk I am be drinking now came from the cows we visited today makes me appreciate what I am drinking even more. And the farm never has to rely on outside suppliers to make what they need. Impressive!”
McNamara’s began as a family farm in 1950, and milks 140 cows twice every day with three generations of McNamaras working on the farm. The dairy then supplies milk, cream, and eggs to people, stores, and restaurants in the Upper Valley who covet the rich, fresh quality of McNamara’s products: Simon Pearce in Woodstock, VT, Three Tomatoes in Lebanon, NH and Morano Gelato in Hanover, NH just to name a few. You can even buy it yourself at the dairy’s self-service store on the farm’s premises. The dairy never uses chemical fertilizers or growth hormones; everyone in the class remarked about how happy the cows seem, and that happy cows must naturally produce better tasting milk.
Students in Mr. Lord’s class hail from China, England, Canada, Zimbabwe, Spain, Mexico and states from California to Florida. Petting calves, holding chickens, and watching cows get milked made for a memorable Spring morning. Next week the class will visit nearby Edgewater Farms to see how produce is planted for harvest. The class is out in the “field” at least once a week every week and the students get a chance to have a “hands on” connection with the unique environment that is home to the school.