Young Urban Farmers
Community CROPS has set up a Farm School for young people to visit the Community CROPS farm, Sunset Community Farm. Initial activities included purchasing a variety of supplies including tools, materials for a seating area, and educational items.
A number of groups have come out to Sunset Community Farm, the most notable being the entire kindergarten class from Prescott School in the fall of 2011. Over 100 students and about a dozen teachers, parents and grandparents came out to visit the farm and learn. The students participated in three structured activities, as well as having time to just look around the farm and observe. Both the youth and the adults had a great time, and learned a lot.
We learned that just coming to the farm is enough; we don’t need to have so many activities for students to do. We initially overloaded activities, but we could have had them spend more time being outdoors, enjoying the farm and observing. Kids learn by observing and touching, and our bug activity was fantastic. They had small bug catching containers with magnifying glasses built in that let them to really learn something about bugs. This one activity would have been enough for one field trip, as it would have kept the focus on the one learning objective.
We also learned that some of the fun activities that weren’t necessarily learning objectives, such as sack races, worked well for the kids because it gives them a feel for a simpler way of life on farms.
In addition, we had about 50 kids of all ages come to the annual Farm Walk in September, 2011. The Farm Walk is an open house for the community to visit the farm and learn about all of our projects. We used many of the same activities for these kids, as well as a scavenger hunt that encouraged them to explore the entire farm and learn about different aspects while they looked for stickers.
Another group came from our Mickle Young Urban Farmers. This after-school and summer program works with middle school students on growing, harvesting, cooking and selling fresh vegetables. A large garden on their school grounds provides the classroom for learning. The students enjoyed visiting Sunset, as it was good for them to see how large-scale cold frames and hoophouses are used, both of which they have at Mickle.
Funding has been used for supplies, as well as staff time to set up the tours and tour area and to work with the students.
We have had 160 kids and 40 adults come out to Sunset Community Farm specifically for this project. Dozens of other people have visited the farm and interacted with the crops growing there or met the chickens.
The CROPS website has a page on the youth program to encourage people to come out to the farm and to book tours for groups of young people.
WORK PLAN FOR 2012
Our Youth Coordinator has been working with two classes of students at Mickle, about 60 students, and will be taking them all on a field trip to the farm in a few weeks. She has been discussing the connection between the environment, farming and a sustainable way of life with the students, so this will be a great way for them to connect those concepts to a working sustainable farm. They will participate in learning activities while touring the farm.
In addition, we are putting together a flyer to distribute to teachers and other youth leaders about the opportunities to visit Sunset Community Farm so that we can begin bringing out even more young people, as it is a great location for them to learn. Even beyond the life of the grant, the supplies purchased will be used for many more kids. We plan to have at least two larger groups come out this summer as well as at least eight smaller groups such as church youth groups or scouting groups.
1551 S. 2nd
Lincoln, NE 68502
Office Phone: 4024749802