Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An authentic farm experience

Members of the Somerville Farm to School Implementation Planning Team had an opportunity to spend a day on a farm and work alongside each other outside of the traditional office setting.  The team was comprised of school staff, members of community based organizations such as Groundwork Somerville, Shape Up Somerville, and UMass Extension, and other key members. 

Welcome to the farm!
Introductions and goals for the day

The trip was organized and led by Tamika Francis of theMOVE. TheMOVE "organizes reflective farm-volunteer workdays for diverse urban groups across Metro Boston, to connect folks hands-on with fresh food, and with the labor and land that sustain us." It sounds lovely, doesn't it?

It was lovely; a beautiful late summer day. Flowers in the labyrinth were in full bloom and the tomatoes were at their height of ripeness. Some of them were so ripe that they were nearly falling off of the plants!

Flower labyrinth

Farmer Elizabeth Almeida of Fat Moon at Meadowbrook Farm took time from her very busy schedule to introduce us to her farm. The farm has hosted many students from the Greater Boston area, including those from Somerville. Elizabeth reminded us that "Kids can do real farm work." Doing real work (weeding, harvesting, watering, seeding, feeding animals) leads to an authentic farm experience. When visiting the farm, students may perform skills and tasks they didn't know they were capable of doing! This instills confidence and a deeper connection to the land where food is from.
We participated in real work too! Our goals for the day were to 1) prep a bed for a spinach planting by pulling out spent zucchini plants, 2) weed the beet patch and 3) harvest TONS (and taste a few) tomatoes from the greenhouse.
Weeding the beet patch!
Tomato rainbow
Harvesting tomatoes
And more tomatoes!
Thank you to Tamika and Elizabeth for organizing such a great day! And thank you to all the members of the planning team who joined us for the trip!

 Content and photos provided by Karyn Novakowski, Somerville Farm to School Project Director

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