Written by Ali Moxley, Garden Lead at Mountain Pathways
Wow! The last couple of months have really flown by. (I’m sorry I have not updated as frequently as I would have liked). Over the summer Mountain Pathways ran several sessions of Farm Camp for 9-12 year olds. I had the pleasure of getting to pick food from the garden and cook with the kids. The whole structure of the camp is an important model of where I hope the future of school gardening is headed. The kids planted their vegetables from seed, watered and weeded the beds, and eventually harvested them. After the vegetables had been harvested the kids cooked, sold, or donated the food. They were a part of the whole process from root to stem. They learned to be responsible for their food and grew to respect the food system in a totally new way. We taught them the importance of using the whole vegetable and how they could use food scraps to feed the worms in our bin, creating compost for future growing seasons.
Each week was structured differently so that we could meet the immediate needs of the garden and provide fresh concepts to returning campers. Some of the field trips the kids went on included bean picking, teaching younger children at the child development center, and exploring a mushroom farm (my favorite!). We also had guest speakers/ businesses come and work with the children at the school. One week the Farm 2 Flame truck came and cooked pizza using vegetables from the garden. Other weeks we had anthropologists and engineers come. There was a way for each child to experience something they were interested in and connect it back to the concept of social stewardship.
Now that the school year has started my time with the kids will be structured differently. Twice a week I will go in and cook with the kids and discuss nutrition. The new students that I have worked with so far seem to be very excited about getting outside and working in the garden. We have started a few fall vegetables and are looking forward to getting more going soon. We will also continue to sell their produce in the Kids’ Corner at the farmer’s market so come out to see us!
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Office
Lower Level 171 Grand Blvd
PO Box 67
Boone, NC 28608