The Farm is Cookin’!

The Farm is Cookin’!

By Heather Livingston

Saturday, November 11th may have been cold, but the Sustainable Earth Education (SEED) class was nice and toasty in the lower barn! The day began early with painting gourds that had transformed into bowls and birdhouses. Silence fell over nine brilliant brains as they contemplated the designs for their very own gourds. Primary colors anxiously waited in the bottom of recycled egg cartons. The paintbrushes were cold until the first brave soul picked up their instrument to make the first stroke onto the bumpy surface of their gourd. Within minutes the chitter-chatter started again and the gourds came alive. Once inspiration flushed out in spirals and swirls and smiles of satisfaction spread across the children’s faces, I took the cue and we moved onto a new activity.

Dickinson College Farm: a child checks out a red wiggler worm.

Getting friendly with worms! Chloe Yarnell plays with a red wiggler worm that she found in the farm’s vermicompost.

Since several of the kids and their parents had not actually seen the farm yet, it was only appropriate that they see what the farm had to offer. We made our way walking, running, and moseying around the various parts of the farm. We saw the gourds’ cousin, the lufa and took time to smell the rosemary. As we passed through the greenhouses we discussed the meaning of eating seasonally. I was surprised to hear the answer that to eat seasonally in the winter means we should eat candy canes. This is a new spin on eating seasonally! Maybe instead of growing squash and strawberries, we should start producing of candy corn in the fall and chocolate bunnies in the spring!

We passed farm workers working in the worm shack. They explained to us that they were transporting the worms from their summer homes into their cozy winter beds in the greenhouses. The kids were able to tell our workers the importance of worms on our farm. They were excited to tell them that worm poop is actually really healthy for our soil. But when they had the chance to play with the worms their fear was that the worms would leave the important presents in their hands instead of in the dirt. In the end, even the most fearful child was holding a handful of worms.

We left the greenhouses behind and ended the morning in the lower barn to cook. In honor of those who first practiced eating seasonally we cooked a Native American Pawnee dish. We cooked squash and pepper, which were both vegetables that were in season on our farm. The kids helped to set the table, and a few helped to prepare the dish. But more than anything they wanted to let their legs loose. As the dish cooked, the kids kicked up their heels and ran around with the farm’s dog Bella and played games in the grass.

When the corn was cooked we went back to the lower barn and dished out portions of Oklahoma Corn and Squash Pawnee. In unison “mmm’s” from full mouths resonated across the table. Once the kids had their fill of food and were worn out by the fun-filled morning everyone was ready to go home. Waving goodbye from our makeshift kitchen I saw all a few bright eyes glance back at the farm and I hoped that one day they too would pass on the joy of growing good food.

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