And now for the final two visits of the Food For Thought program, first to Lubec and then to Charlotte!
In preparation for author Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s trip to Lubec, the first and second grade made lots of “Trips to Delicious” by cooking and eating meals from the book and doing some planting activities. These youngsters were eager with questions and developed food riddles with Jackie.
The Pre-K/K worked on learning all about worms and how worms help the soil, planted beans, and learned about the tongue and taste. No – don’t worry – they didn’t eat the worms!
Grades 7/8 are working to revive the old greenhouse which got destroyed by a hurricane several years ago. This is a long process with fundraising to be done, but a core group of students are determined to resurrect the hothouse and get planting! They created an accordion journal and shared their stories about food, written for a 4 or 5 yr. old audience.
Plastic bags with sprouting seeds hung outside the 5th and 6th-grade classroom. Always keen on technology, Mrs. Morse introduced them to a virtual simulation of seed starting through explore.com. Many of the students shared that they have family gardens and/or farm animals.
Ms. Basquet’s group of 3rd and 4th graders were exhibiting great imagination as they developed stories based on vegetables. They were drawing on their experience with “powerful starters” and the format of using panels similar to graphic novels.
Jackie’s visit to the Charlotte school rounded out her three-day tour. During her whole school presentation, she shared her experience of growing up on a dairy farm in Turner, Maine; the seasonal foods that became celebrations; the demanding schedule and responsibility of owning a herd of cows; and what fears she had as a child (runaway bulls!). Students were then willing to freely share their passions, fears, and favorite foods during workshops.
Younger students worked on food riddles, developed accordion books based on Stone Soup or The Gingerbread Man and recreated Jack and the Bean Stalk in some of the writing exercises they did together. They told Jackie about the seeds they had planted both at school and at their home gardens.
The Charlotte school visited Tide Mill Farms Tuesday, May 16, the first warm sunny day in a long time, and the first out-in-the-field day for the cows since last fall! We could almost see them smiling as they ate the fresh green grass which the kids learned becomes the “cud” they chew.
They toured the milking facility and learned about the difference between raw and pasteurized milk, what it means to be certified organic and how they sell both from the farm and to local and southern Maine markets.
They toured the chicken raising and processing center and heard about how farmers need to be multi-talented, including: engineering skills, veterinary and carpentry skills, some electrical knowledge, being physically fit, being a food safety specialist, and having butchering skills – along with gardening skills and soil knowledge, composting, and environmental law knowledge! What a tall order!
They also visited the pigs, who – of course – were happily wallowing in the mud.
In the greenhouse, upon seeing the hundreds of seedlings reaching towards the bright sun, one young fella was convinced that this was the growing table from Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.
We couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up our spring semester, and our 40th school visit of the 2016-2017 academic year!