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Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Notes from the Learning Garden: Fall After-School Begins

With the onset of fall, WFCF has started up its Children's Learning Garden After-School Programs. With kids K - 5, we have been working to harvest tomatoes, squash, carrots, and raspberries, and last week we planted garlic bulbs to grow through the winter. We have also been learning about how farming changes with the seasons, when to plant or harvest certain vegetables, and how many of the things that we use everyday come from a farm. Yesterday, we took a tour of the farm in a downpour, an activity which led to more than one shout of, "I love the rain!", and lots of boots splashing through mud puddles.

And of course we have been snacking: we sampled squash, basil, and tomato salad, fresh watermelon, and garlic spread—not to mention some delicious purslane, a weed that was growing in our carrot beds. Some snacks have been bigger hits than others, but everyone loved the tomato and garlic, and, of course, the watermelon. One or two kids even got excited about washing dishes afterward!

We ended last week’s class playing The Risky Life of a Seed — a game that teaches participants to identify all of the things that seeds need to grow: space, air, water, soil, and sunlight. Each player is assigned to one of these requirements and, after running around for a few minutes, the players form three groups, each of which represents a seed. At this point, everyone reveals their identity and the group evaluates whether or not their seed has everything it needs to grow into a healthy plant.

It didn’t take long for our after-school program participants to figure out that if they just formed one big group, they could greatly increase their chances of getting all the things they needed for their seed to prosper. It was striking how quickly this knowledge of the benefits of teamwork came to them; and even as a counselor, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement and sense of community that descended upon the players when their seed made it. Teamwork is always important, not just in the risky life of a seed, and it is certainly integral to making a farm run smoothly. Hopefully as the program progresses, as we harvest more vegetables, weed more purslane, and eat more snacks, we will also discover a few more of the many lessons that farm work has to teach us.

-Becca, for the Learning Garden Staff

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