Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Christine Fesko
Farmer, Ag Educator and Farm Credit Director

Category
Location
Skaneateles, New York
Farm Credit Affiliation
Farm Credit East
Christine's Perspective

In 1993, Christine Fesko was working on the family dairy farm when a woman stopped her car to ask if she could take a picture of Christine’s cow. The woman was pointing to a horse.

That night, Christine told her husband Rick this story, concluding that “someone should make videos to teach kids about farming." Rick challenged her by asking “Who do you think should make these videos?” She replied that the person should be an educator, someone who lived and worked on a farm and could explain what it was like. “Sounds like you,’ he countered.

That was the birth of Christine's “On the Farm” video series, which now number 11 and have won eight Parents Choice Awards. Three years after she made her first video, Christine developed a school curriculum with modules like “Corncob Calculation.” Responding to interest from teachers, in 2000 she renovated an old barn to become the Discovery Center where she has hosted thousands of students, using farm examples to teach them problem solving and simple mechanics.

Soon, Christine was sought after for speaking engagements across the country on subjects ranging from promotion of ag to death and dying. Ask Christine what drove her to take on these new enterprises and she’s quick to say “It was never about money.” Instead, she wanted to help farm kids to feel better about growing up on a farm and inspire non-farm kids to want to grow up to be farmers.

Christine is proud that the U.S. Immigration Service in New York City used her videos to educate prospective citizens about agriculture. She gets emotional when she recalls a telephone call from Fred Rogers (yes, Mister Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame) encouraging her to keep making videos, and she loved it when a six-year-old sent her a video tour of his farm. Christine is also thrilled that farmers’ postings on social media and You Tube videos are bringing the story of farming to the public, joining her in her mission to educate consumers about how their food gets to their tables.

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