Despite weather challenges of 100+-degree heat one week and rain the next, two lucky groups of children were immersed in an in-depth farm experience at Food Love Camp this summer, learning how to do farm chores like watering, harvesting, making bouquets, and feeding chickens, and learning a whole lot about where their food comes from in the process. They eased into the week, learning about seeds through arts and crafts projects, familiarizing themselves with the different edible and medicinal plants that grow on the Burton Homestead where the Food Love Project Farm is located, and getting up close and personal with worms, chickens, and even a goat.
But by the end of the week, campers had designed their own farms and were hosting their own booths at a mock farmer’s market! The week culminated in a farm-fresh feast of spring rolls and massage kale salad that the kids harvested, prepared, and shared with each other.
It wasn’t all hard work – there was plenty of singing, water play, and games which utilized the popular “rainbow wheel”, built by Sierra Harvest volunteer Jim Hurley. Food Love intern Gracie Schatz helped keep the fun factor high by summarizing each day in a Food Love rap that she performed for the kids, who responded with beat boxing and break dancing.
The mock farmer’s market was one of the most popular activities. Farm Manager Katie Turner was thrilled that the kids made the real-life connection: “We did mock farmers market, and then told them we would be working the real farmers market. Almost a third of the kids showed up on Saturday and were very comfortable helping out behind the stand!”
“Pickles” the high school helper (aka Sarah Goodnow) contributed to the fun by making friendship bracelets with the kids and supplying an awesome soundtrack from her iPod for the water games. Pickles was so popular that two returning campers gave themselves camp names of “Little Pickle” and “Dill Pickle” after their beloved camp helper. Farmer Amanda is thrilled to see the same kids returning for a second year: “We know we are successful when we have kids return – it feels good that they want to keep coming back.”