Ag Arts Partnership for Southwest Iowa

Final report for YENC18-132

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2018: $2,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Golden Hills RC&D
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Manager:
Mary Goettsch
Golden Hills RC&D
Expand All

Project Information

Summary:

This 2018 summer day camp project was conducted at six local farms, providing age-appropriate understanding of sustainable food production through the lens of creative engagement. Each day camp was paired with a local farmer and a local artist using adapted, age-appropriate curricula. The project united two established organizations: the Southwest Iowa Food and Farm Initiative and the Southwest Iowa Arts Council. In addition to providing hands on experience on a working farm, each youth participant created art, visual or theatrical, to tie into the lessons of the day and deepened their engagement with agricultural themes.

Summary of camps:

June 7, 2018: Fork Tale Farm (Avoca IA):

Students classified the different breeds of chickens; learned about the benefits of raising chickens; learned the process of raising chickens; outlined the stages of growing a garden; made a rhubarb crisp with fresh rhubarb from the garden; wrote an agricultural themed story; performed an agricultural themed story; created and painted a clay pot –1 farmer, 1 artist, 1 educator; 7 participants (1st-4th grade)

June 11, 2018: Rolling Acres (Atlantic IA): Demonstrated how to grow food; tasted locally-grown food; listened and performed “The Three Sisters;” engaged in storytelling activities; listened to an agricultural themed story by Chad Elliott; collaborated with artist Chad Elliott to create an ag song and painting- 1 farmer, 2 artists, 1 educator; 3 YMCA helpers; 44 participants (YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 13, 2018: Resilient Farms (Red Oak IA): Painted a farm scene; designed and built an art structure with various media; create an agricultural themed story; planted one of the “three sisters,” and learned how to care for the plant; ate a locally-sourced meal; 2 farmers; 2 volunteers; 2 artists; 1 educator; 2 YMCA helpers; 25 participants (YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 15, 2018: Jerry Banks Acreage (Malvern IA): Explored an Iowa prairie and identified plants with a naturalist; sketched and painted with pencils and pond water; recognized goats and chickens; created nature bundles with a Native American artist and healer; discussed the story of the “Three Sisters;” explored and practiced playing drums and learned about Native American clothing and importance of fire; listened to a flute; 1 naturalist, 1 farmer, 1 landowner; 1 educator; (28 participants; YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 20, 2018: Teachout Farm (Shenandoah IA) – Explained the importance of soil health; summarized how to grow plants; discussed the importance of cover crops; created and performed a story; engaged in theater games to enhance creativity; constructed soil art; 1 farmer; 2 theatre educators; 2 volunteers; (Shenandoah Elementary 15 participants; 1st-5th grade)

June 22, 2018: Maple Edge Farm (Hastings IA)–crafted pots with soil from the farm; explained the importance of soil health and planted seeds; sampled herbs from the garden; designed and created agricultural themed masks; – a blend of ages, families; 3 farmers, 2 theatre educators, 1 potter, 3 volunteers (13 participants from the Ronald McDonald House)

June 29, 2018: Maple Edge Farm (Hastings IA) – created a farm scene with clay and other natural materials; learned about the importance of livestock, specifically goats, chickens, cattle; assisted with feeding livestock; designed and created sock puppets and performed with them; sang songs with a saw player; 4 farmers; 3 volunteers; 1 educator (12 participants from the Ronald McDonald House)

Project outcomes: Attendees learned artistic and agricultural skills from farmers and artists. Attendees connected with urban and rural community members to learn about ways to eat healthier, locally-sourced foods to make positive impacts on the environment and in their communities.

Project Objectives:

Objectives of the Ag Arts Camp program for children included the following:
1. Participants gained experiential, age-appropriate, agricultural knowledge by visiting and engaging with five unique, local farm environments that use sustainable methods as part of their operation
2. Participants learned to recognize how food is grown and produced through hands-on engagement
3. Participants learned about the importance of local food production and/or land conservation, using creative drama and theater techniques, storytelling, and visual art projects

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand

Educational & Outreach Activities

7 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
8 Published press articles, newsletters
1 Webinars / talks / presentations
7 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

8 Farmers/ranchers
144 Youth
8 Parents
11 Educators
10 Other adults
Education/outreach description:

Education and outreach activities

Each of the seven AgArts camps had different educational learning outcomes and activities.  Participants engaged in planting seeds, sampling herbs and local vegetables, feeding livestock (chickens, goats, cattle), sculpting pottery, painting pottery and canvas, storytelling, cooking, writing and singing songs, physical activity (hay bales), prairie identification activity, hayrack ride, natural art (using materials found outside to create bundles) and explore Native American instruments and attire. We promoted the seven AgArts camps through promotion prior and during on social media, several press releases, a video, and Channel 3 News shared the AgArts camp story. In addition to a June 2018 presentation at the Outdoor Learning Environment Conference, there's potential to present at the Local Foods Community Systems Program and the nonprofit conference in Hastings, NE in 2019.

Learning outcomes

June 7: Fork Tale Farm:

Students will classify the different breeds of chickens; explain the benefits of raising chickens; indicate the process of raising chickens; outline the stages of growing a garden; make a rhubarb crisp with fresh rhubarb from the garden; write an ag story; perform an ag story; create and paint a clay pot –1 farmer, 1 artist, 1 educator; 7 participants (1st-4th grade)

June 11: Rolling Acres: Demonstrate how to grow food; taste locally-grown food; listen and perform “The Three Sisters;” engage in storytelling activities; listen to an ag story; collaborate with artist Chad Elliott to create an ag song and painting- 1 farmer, 2 artists, 1 educator; 3 YMCA helpers; 44 participants (YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 13: Resilient Farms: Paint a farm scene; design and build an art structure with various media; create an ag story; plant one of the “three sisters,” and learn how to care for the plant; eat a locally-sourced meal; 2 farmers; 2 volunteers; 2 artists; 1 educator; 2 YMCA helpers; 25 participants (YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 15: Jerry Banks Acreage: Explore an Iowa prairie and identify plants with a naturalist; sketch an painting with pencils and pond water; recognize goats and chickens; create nature bundles with a Native American artist and healer; discuss the story of the “Three Sisters;” explore and practice playing drums and learn about Native American clothing and importance of fire; listen to a flute; 1 naturalist, 1 farmer, 1 landowner; 1 educator; (28 participants; YMCA 1st-5th grade)

June 20: Teachout farm – Explain the importance of soil health; summarize how to grow plants; discuss the importance of cover crops; create and perform a story; engage in theatre games to enhance creativity; construct soil art; 1 farmer; 2 theatre educators; 2 volunteers; (Shenandoah Elementary 15 participants; 1st-5th grade)

June 22: Maple Edge Farm –craft pots with soil from the farm; explain the importance of soil health plant seeds; sample herbs from the garden; design and create ag masks; – a blend of ages, families; 3 farmers, 2 theatre educators, 1 potter, 3 volunteers (13 participants from the Ronald McDonald House)

June 29: Maple Edge Farm – create a farm scene with clay and other natural materials; learn about the importance of livestock, specifically goats, chickens, cattle; assist with feeding livestock; design and create sock puppets and perform with them; sing songs with a saw player; 4 farmers; 3 volunteers; 1 educator (12 participants from the Ronald McDonald House)

Project outcomes: Attendees will learn artistic and agricultural skills from farmers and artists.

Attendees will connect with urban and rural community members to strategize ways to eat healthier, locally-sourced foods to make positive impacts on the environment and in their communities.

Learning Outcomes

Key changes:
  • Plants require healthy soil to grow, and we all have an impact on soil health. Livestock benefits the land. "Dirt is dead, and soil is alive."

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
15 New working collaborations
Increased organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:
Yes
Explanation for change in organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:

Chat Mobility and Glenwood State Bank each donated $500 to support the AgArts camps. Additionally, six different farming operations participated in the project and several are interested in continuing a partnership in ag education.

Success stories:

Steve and I love having kids visit our farm and experience nature, produce gardening and row-crop farming first-hand, close up and in person. The lasting benefit became clearly apparent one day when a girl ran up to me in the grocery store and announced, “My beans are still growing, and I some for dinner the other day!” She was referring to the beans she planted during the AgArts Camp at our farm. When I said that I was so glad her beans grew well and asked if she would like to attend another camp, her mother interjected that her daughter really like the camp and would love another opportunity to attend next summer. Maggie McQuown, Resilient Farms, Red Oak, Iowa

"It is easy to distance yourself and forget where our food and products come from. Ag-arts camps help young people to connect with nature and gain a broader perspective. By using art and artistic techniques the camps help tell the story of how we grow, nurture, and harvest our food. These camps help us appreciate the time and work that go into sustaining our way of life; and how we are feed and clothe ourselves!" Lora Kaup, Theatre Educator, Omaha, NE

Recommendations:

I recommend AgArts camps become an intergenerational project, focusing on families, different age groups, so the younger children can learn from the adults, and the adults can be challenged and inspired by youth. Additionally, we need to establish a strong base of volunteers and a sustainable means of funding the project.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.