Farm Visits at Waltham Fields Community Farm vary a bit depending on the learning objectives of the group and the number of children attending, but will always include the following three things:
We want to make sure that all of the children coming for a Farm Visit have a chance to get their hands dirty!
This morning, with the help of a group of campers from Education Francaise Greater Boston, Learning Garden educators Aleta and Kristin hilled potatoes. Yesterday, eight and nine year olds from Cambridge Adventure Day Camp finished preparing and planting a melon patch! Check out the CADC blog for some fabulous pictures of their time at the farm!
Freshly-hilled potatoes (left)
Our new melon patch (below)
Another portion of our program time is spent doing an activity that involves interactive discussion about a topic pertinent to the learning objectives of the group visiting the farm. For a group that is learning about soil, we often take a walk out to the compost pile and do an activity called Earth Apple to illustrate the percentage of Earth's surface made up of soil on which we can grow food; or Compost Cake to illustrate how food scraps, lawn clippings, and leaves are turned into fabulous soil for the garden! For a group interested in learning more about farming in general, we will often do our very favorite activity: From A Farm/Not From A Farm Relay! Participants are always amazed to discover that most of the objects and products they use every day come from farms!Mystic Learning Center group discussing whether or not band-aids come from a farm
A trip to the farm just wouldn't be complete without a snack made from fresh fruits and veggies! Our favorite healthy snacks to make with Farm Visit groups are Hummus and Plant Parts Salad. Here are the basic recipes, but feel free to embellish depending on your own taste buds!
Harvesting zucchini for dipping in hummus (below)
16-oz can of chickpeas
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
Other herbs/spices you like
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Enjoy with cucumber and zucchini slices or your other favorite veggies!
Plant Parts Salad
Leaves: lettuce, spinach, or other greens
Stem: fennel, scallions, or kohlrabi
Root: beet, carrot, or radish
Seed: peas or beans
Fruit: zucchini, cucumber, or tomato
Flower: broccoli or nasturtiums
2 tbsp fresh herbs (such as basil, cilantro, oregano, parley, etc.)
or 1/2 tsp dried herbs
1 tbsp vinegar (red wine, white wine, or balsamic)
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Chopping broccoli for plant parts salad (above)
Mix well and serve on salad!
As I read over this post I can't help but think that I am not doing it justice, but there is really no way to describe how amazing it is when a child is gobbling up zucchini slices and hummus as if they were an ice cream sundae and exclaiming that he "could eat it all day long;" or after planting and weeding in the garden when another participant says, "I am going to be a farmer when I grow up!" Those are the moments when we really know that we are doing something right.
- Jericho, for Kristin, Rebekah, Aleta, and Paula