Farm Friday: What Have We Learned?

Over the past week, Session 2 campers have been making their first visit to farm.  It’s been quite a shock for those of them who were in camp last summer when there was nothing there but some grass, weeds, and bushes.  Invariably, one of the new campers asks, “So what’s the deal with all this farm stuff?” or some variation thereof.

The question is usually met with a chorus of explanations from campers who’ve been here all summer–so I have since taken to beginning each group with the question, “What have we learned about farming this summer?”

Ask any Educator and they will likely tell you how gratifying it is to have one of their students explain to another something they have learned.  This is especially true when the teacher does not interrupt and allows other students the opportunity to elaborate on or correct information in the vernacular of their peers.  (Kids are great teachers of kids.)  When a “veteran” farmer tells a “newbie” about our Three Sisters Garden and why we have planted corn, squash, and beans all together (because they do better together) then, another jumps in to explain that we learned that from the Iroquois; it adds to the magic and the spirit of the farm.  When old and new alike break into a discussion of Sustainable Agriculture and a new camper adds information that was previously not mentioned in our first session groups, we are reminded that all of us are farmers and teachers in the SLC garden.

Such was the case yesterday when two of the campers, one old, one new, got into a conversation about pickling—something we do a lot of on the farm.  “Not just cucumbers,” said the Session 1 camper.  “You can pickle any vegetable.”

“And not just vegetables,” said the new camper.  “If you pickle raw brisket you get corned beef.”

At that point, the discussion expanded to include pickled eggs and pickled pig’s feet (we don’t make those here) and continued to encompass the food that is served in the dining room and how one camper thought it would be a lot better if they served pickles for breakfast (as we do on the farm).

I must say, the longer I’m here, the clearer it becomes that the kids are learning a lot from the farm, and I am learning a lot from the kids.  We are all continuing to grow together like the Three Sisters Garden.

Until next week, Stay Dirty.

Alan

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