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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Exploring Our Community: A Visit to the Local Urban Farm

We had a wonderful opportunity last week to take a walking field trip and explore our community.
A family at the school has been working hard at cultivating an Urban Farm in our neighborhood.  You can find out more about their project at Spring Side Organics
Our school was invited to take a tour of the farm, do observational drawings, harvest seeds, and of course taste some very yummy vegetables.

Before we left to go on our trip a question was presented to the children: What makes a farm?
Many of the children answered animals, a barn, and vegetables. 
 I asked does a farms have to be in the country to be considered a farm?
The children responded yes, that a farms needs lots of land.
When asked if anyone ever heard of an Urban Farm, the children said no.  
This led into a brief discussion about a farm being a piece of land that is devoted to producing a product that can be shared or sold to others.  With this in mind we talked about there being all sorts of farms, and explained that they were going to visit an Urban Farm, which is a farm that is located in a town or city.

Of course we wondered what we would see along the way?  Some said squirrels, others said chipmunks, another shouted out a bunny, and one very excited little girl exclaimed, "a unicorn!"  We did happen upon squirrels and chipmunks, and even men standing on top of a roof, but unfortunately we did not see any unicorns on this day. 

The crew heading out.

Meeting up with Ashley at the farm.  Of course she was greeted with a harm hug.

Our friends heading into the Labyrinth Garden.

A captive audience as Ashley shares about the different types of plants.  

We got to experience some very unique crops such as Indigo Blueberry Cherry Tomatoes, which start out red then turn a bluish/black in the sun.  

We also were introduced to Dragon Carrots that are purple on the outside and orange in the inside.

Trying out the celery, many even put some in their pockets to save for their parents, or to share with parents on the trip.

Ashley showing the children a new crop of plants emerging.

Discovering beans to taste!

The children were shown what a carrot looks like when it is ready to harvest.

"The magic bridge", which was a favorite for many of the children when they were asked what they liked best about the trip.

The "Mirror Lake" and two Koi Fish, another favorite that the children brought up later in the day.

Here we are huddled around the potato bin.

A potato discovered in the bin.

"This is so cool," she exclaimed as she discovered where potatoes come from. 

A harvested collection put out for the children to explore, and draw. 

Many were eager to draw things they found on the trip or from their imaginations.

One little artist showing his drawing of the house while friends look on.

We discovered a nest, and another little artist drew the nest and the eggs that might be inside.

It was wonderful watching the children so naturally pick up their drawing boards and express their ideas about the trip, or find an object they wanted to observe and draw.  Not only does it show their ability, but lets them take a moment to digest all the information they learned in a way that visually displays their learning, but also slows them down for a little while to take it all in.  

Many just enjoyed being out in nature and looking at all that nature offers us.

Near the end of our adventure, the children were taught how to harvest beans which they collected in envelops to take home.

As we neared home, the children enjoyed a final sprint through the field.  
I am always impressed with what our community offers us and the many opportunities for learning something new.  I do have to say, everything is so much more magical when you experience it through the eyes of these little ones.

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