by Jules White I’ve spent the past five autumns in New England, but the reds…
For years, a highlight of fall for Northampton elementary school students has been a field trip to Crimson & Clover Farm, led by our staff. Throughout the month of October, Ellena Baum and Melissa Ward who head up our Grow Food Kids program hosted fun, hands-on tours for 25 classes of students in grades K-3. Most notably, every second grade class came on a field trip to the farm to compliment their district-wide curriculum unit of Goods and Services.
Each field trip included a tour of the farm, making stops along the way to learn about a different aspect of the work that takes place. After dividing into two groups, Ellena and Melissa led each of their groups around stations to dig potatoes, clean garlic, visit the beehives to learn about making honey and to sample carrots, radishes or raspberries along the way. The bees proved to be the most captivating to most classes while most kids agreed they could dig potatoes all day!
We’re very excited about our deepening roots in the Northampton Public Schools. The curriculum tie-in with the second grades is a wonderful example of these connections. Jackson Street School second grade teacher Kat Walmsley explained “In second grade we study the economic concept of buying goods and services. When visiting Crimson & Clover Farm, students had a chance to harvest a good (potatoes) and carry it up to the farm store to be sold. They also helped prepare garlic to be sold at the store and market. We help students begin to consider the complicated choices that people make about buying goods and services.”
The second grade teachers at Jackson Street school enhanced the Goods and Services unit even further by organizing their own field trips to Tuesday Market. In October, all three classes took a turn visiting the market. They split up into small groups, each group had money and a shopping list of items that they needed to buy to bring back to school for a cooking project. You could feel the excitement as the students worked together to find the different stands that they needed to visit, asking questions of the farmers to make their purchases. From the farm to the market, these real-world experiences add value to what the students are learning in the classroom.
We read several books that address the idea of how a good gets from farm to market to table. Visiting the bees was great as we saw Red Barn Honey at the market and bought honey sticks from them. -Kat Walmsley, 2nd grade teacher
Next up for Grow Food Kids will be a series of Classroom Cooking Workshops throughout the winter months. We are also working closely with the Northampton Farm to School Committee to develop future programming, including expanding Farm to School initiatives into the Middle and High School.