Last year after hearing a prep class in the grocery store singing their chant, " Single file through the aisle. This is where our food comes from.", I thought several expletives, went home and contacted one of our local primary schools, offering to host the whole school on our farm. The school accepted and made the term two focus an investigation into plants. The younger children wanted to see food growing and see what food plants look like...trying lots of food was a huge hit too! The 1-2's questions ranged from what is the smallest seed to how do plants communicate. The 3-4's were curious about plants as living things, fertilizers and pesticides. And the 5-6's wanted to know how farmers were managing in extreme weather and how were we reducing our greenhouse emissions. Big questions for 11 and 12 year olds! Even through the pouring rain, the children came, explored, nibbled very adventurously, planted cover crops, pulled carrots, ate raw sweet corn, jumped in puddles, and heard stories about how plants play "Chinese Whispers", how plants attract beneficial insects, plant "force fields", soil hummus, making winter blankets for soil life with cover crops, mono-cropping farming compared with small scale, diverse, sustainable farming.
In addition to coming to the farm, a few of the classes invited me to come to their classrooms. One class helped us with seed saving by fermenting the tomato seeds of four different varieties. Another class had more questions about how plants grow, all the different functions of roots, where does the seed come from, which came first - the seed or the plant. I have been loving the questions that the children are pondering and really enjoying the opportunity to share the importance of healthy soil to plant life.
The purple carrots will be unforgettable for them. And their Thank you notes have been the best...we have especially loved all the rain in the pictures...loads of blue spots and some were a wash with blue...do you think they noticed the rain?
Thank you to Dizzy Carlyon and Mel Turnbull (the Wwoof-er who came for the last two weeks of the Autumn Share) who both helped immensely with the tours!! And a big thank you to the principle, Meg Dallas, and all the teachers of the school for giving the children a great chance to think about plants, farming and really see where food comes from.