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Monday, August 20, 2018

URI to host open house at its three farms in Kingston, Aug. 25

Event highlights research, education on animals, gardening, crops, more

Donkeys, Sheep, and pigs at URI's Peckham Farm
Donkeys, Sheep, and pigs will be on display at URI's Peckham Farm
during the University's Farm Open House on Aug. 25. Photo by Nora Lewis.
The University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension will host an open house at its three farms in Kingston, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about its research and education efforts related to farm animals, gardening, crops and many other topics. 

The free event runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25.

“We’ve got interesting things happening on all of our farms, and we’re eager to showcase them to the public,” said Deborah Sheely, associate director of URI Cooperative Extension and associate dean of the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences. 

“We’re fortunate to have the farms near campus and look forward to letting the public get a peek at the research, teaching and outreach that goes on there.”

The three farms – Peckham Farm on Route 138 across from the URI athletic complex, East Farm on Route 108, and the Agronomy Farm (also called the Gardner Crops Research Station) on Plains Road – will each offer children’s activities, educational displays, tours and more.


“There are different things to see at each of the farms,” Sheely said. 

“People with children will be attracted to Peckham to see the farm animals; people who care about gardening will start at East Farm because that’s the home of the URI Master Gardeners; and those interested in crop production will go to Agronomy. But we hope that people will visit them all.”

The 300-acre Peckham Farm includes pasture areas, woodlands, wetlands and turf fields, but the main focus is on the barns where students raise sheep, goats, pigs and cows. 

Donkeys serve as guard animals. Visitors may participate in a scavenger hunt, self-guided tours, 4-H activities for children, and research demonstrations.

The many buildings at East Farm are home to a variety of research, education and outreach programs, all of which will have activities and exhibits during the event. 

The Master Gardener program will showcase its demonstration vegetable garden and provide cooking demonstrations; the URI Fisheries Center and the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island will display and demonstrate commercial fishing gear; the Rhode Island Natural History Survey will hold a show-and-tell about its coyote research and showcase an exhibit of art inspired by nature; the URI Department of Plant Sciences will showcase bee research and pollinator habitat projects; and the URI Tick Encounter Resource Center and RIDEM Mosquito Abatement Program will offer important information about ticks, mosquitos and their diseases.

At the Agronomy Farm, visitors can participate in a taste-test of 18 varieties of carrots being grown there, enjoy faculty-led tours of vegetable production research, join a scavenger hunt, and learn to identify weeds.

For more information about the farm open house, visit web.uri.edu/coopext or email coopext@uri.edu.