As farmer Maggie has been planting seeds this spring, she’s been dreaming about all the food that she’ll be sharing with a few lucky kids this summer at Food Love camp in July. Cucumbers, fennel, carrots, kohlrabi, zucchini and the first little cherry tomatoes that pop in your mouth…can you imagine it? Right now, they are just sprouts- but as the days get longer and the season progresses these seeds will be food before we even know it. And this food will be prepared and eaten every day at camp this summer. Fresh pesto, spring rolls, tamales, sun tea, fresh fruit…just thinking about it makes us hungry!
July feels far away now, but for farmers (and parents) it’s right around the corner. Right now, the food love farmers are working together in a packed greenhouse filled with baby plants and a promise of another abundant season on the farm. They are planning lessons for spring field trips that highlight pollinators, compost, soil and chickens and brainstorming on how to make this year’s summer camp the best yet.
As they wait for the ground to dry out and the warmth to return in earnest, it is hard to imagine the hot summer days when the rhythm of the farm is watering, weeding and harvesting make up daily life. These patterns are what is shared with campers each year, and why the kids keep coming back. In this fast moving world, where screens compete for attention and kids have their pick of so many stimulating activities- Food Love camp is a chance to slow down and connect with a familiar place and an agrarian rhythm that’s as old as humanity.
For some, it’s a place where they have come for field trips- for others they may be coming to Food Love for the first time. Either way, campers get a week at the farm where they take ownership in the space and have fun! It all starts with a name. When camp begins- campers choose a farm name to go by for the week. Something that resonates with them- past campers include: Water, Bunny, Chicken, Sunflower, Vampire Bat, Flower, Tulsi, Apple, Sky…the list is as endless and creative as you might imagine!
Armed with a new name, the campers get into the daily groove of the farm- watering starts, feeding chickens and collecting eggs, making bouquets and harvesting food for snack. As the week unfolds, campers get more comfortable on the farm- creating their own games and eating their favorite new snacks. Each day has its own theme such as: design your own farm day (culminating in a mock farmer’s market), animal day and friendsgiving feast day. From honey tasting to seed piñatas, grinding corn with a mocajete (mortar and pestle) for fresh tamales and learning about edible weeds- farm camp is a great way to have your kids connect with where their food comes from. Camp is open for kids ages 6-11 and runs 9AM-1PM each day for 2 sessions July 10-14 and 17-21. Register by May 31st for an early bird discount! Scholarships available. Register TODAY at: https://sierraharvest.org/what-we-do-2/children/food-love-project-summer-camp/