Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Running On and Off the Farm

I ask all school groups to follow two guidelines while visiting the Farm on a field trip. I would ask the same thing of folks attending a workshop as well, except they are more likely to be focused on the topic at hand, such as beekeeping, farming or natural, healthy yard care. The two guidelines are to stay together and to walk.  The first gives the opportunity for chaperones and teachers to know where everyone is and to being aware of waling paths, wheel rows and to keep everyone accounted for and engaged.  The latter is to prevent students from tripping on the many rocks and roots, as well staying in the upright position.  My friend Bruce Frost and I plan on taking the “walking” request and for the most part throwing it out the window.  He and I will attempt to run (occasionally sprint) to seven different schools come Tuesday, April 29th.
The tour of schools will feature stops at these 7 school Farm Gardens. From the Farm to East Elementary School in Hingham, to Osgood K-2 in Cohasset, to the Gates Intermediate School in Scituate, to the Inly Montessori Independent School in Scituate, to the Martinson and South River schools both in Marshfield and ending, perhaps with a jog at that point, at the Bay Farm Montessori Academy in Duxbury.  At each school, Bruce and I will meet various school kids and teachers out at their respective school Farm Gardens to sow some seeds. The hope is to raise awareness about the importance of growing healthy, organic produce at each of these schools. This endeavour begs to be repeated as the Friends of Holly Hill Farm, the non profit teaching organization connected to the actual growing farm, is involved in this effort at another 25 schools from here to Boston and down to Plymouth. If the stamina holds out and the interest is there, Bruce and I and others, perhaps in a relay fashion (so as to reach the new gardens afar a field as Brockton to Hull), there are plans to chart a similar course to other schools that take on the task of establishing gardens, compost areas and rain barrel water catchments.  It will be a good time for early carrots, arugula and maybe even some beets, for those who do not pause in anguish at their mention.  Every time someone of any age sows a seed, there is a better chance for them to know more about the importance of from where our food comes and how it can be grown, cultivated and enjoyed at a local, accessible garden for all.
Bruce is currently a teacher at the Inly School and developed the idea, the map, the colorful yellow tee shirt and the kind gesture to let folks know about growing food, herbs, fruit and flowers.  He previously taught at South River for the better part of 16 years. His 30 plus garden beds at South River are a testament to community involvement and K to grade 5 initiative for this curriculum connected notion of growing produce for the school, farmer’s market and the food pantry.  All the kids we will be able to teach and sow seeds with on the 29th will do much to enhance their Farm Garden and give us a lift for the next leg.  We will start the day with seeds sown at the farm, around 7:40 the morning of the 29th.  We will walk to the education garden to sow seeds for the Summer programs, most likely the Farm Pantry program which welcomes high schoolers to tend, harvest and deliver produce to Father Bill’s in Quincy.  From there we will indeed run, not walk (unless needed) to the 7 schools.
No running on the Farm, just walking, staying together, while learning and growing.

© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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