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Spring 2024 School Field Trips to the Farm!

A reflection by Claudia Murray, Former GFN Intern and Temporary Farm Educator

 

After more than ten years, I still vividly remember the one farm field trip from my K-12 public school education. The curiosity, wonder, and gratitude cultivated by a day of seeing some of my favorite foods as seedlings in greenhouses, people knowledgeable and passionate about stewarding the land, and a cow that we milked as second graders, have stayed with me to this day. It feels special that I concluded my time at Grow Food Northampton, a central part of my community in Western MA, co-leading field trips with the purpose of creating space for other young people to experience a similar joy. 

Claudia leading a group of second graders from Jackson Street School.

The seed planting station that I led for our spring field trips combined a way for students to leave their mark on the land (cross your fingers for a healthy crop of bean plants!), reflect on the magic and importance of seeds, and share some of their favorite culinary creations with legumes. The ease with which farm field trips integrate opportunities for student agency, science learning, and cultural expression continues to impress me.

What impressed me the most, however, was how much students already knew. Throughout the course of the field trips, I saw in practice how educational models that center students as the bearers of knowledge benefit everyone! Whether through a specific fact about roots that a student had learned in their school garden lesson, or a request that we pause to notice how many different birdsongs we could hear, students consistently co-created our collective experience, by way of their own personal connection to and curiosities about the land. 

I believe this is one of the most important parts of the work of Grow Food Northampton, and field trips are one vital avenue. As the sweet taste of the snacking strawberries we shared during the final week fades from my palette and I prepare to embark on my own summer of farm-based learning, I am honored to have had the opportunity to learn from and with so many awesome young people, and excited to see what kind of world we can create together! 

Claudia Murray is a recent (Spring 2024) graduate of the UMass School of Food and Farming. During her time at UMass Cluadia was an intern with GFN’s Education team. After graduating, Claudia is going on to work on a family friend’s farm in Puerto Rico.

Spring Farm Field Trips

Snapshot


500 students!
Northampton Public Schools
Kindergarten, First and Second Graders
All four elementary schools
Activities:
Bean planting
Scavenger hunt
Asparagus and strawberry picking
Wildflower seed “cookie” making
Tree mulching

Farm field trips for students of the Northampton Public Schools is generously funded by the Northampton Education Foundation (NEF). Thank you, NEF!

The Northampton Education Foundation

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