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There is something about being on a farm that connects us to life in its most ancient, natural, and authentic form. It makes kids at lunch ask for more vegetables, like the beets (yes, beets!) that they, themselves harvested earlier. It makes them stand sober at the scene of a chicken slaughtering, and go to bed earlier than ever before.


I spent this week at the Young Farmers camp at the family-owned Rocklands Farm teaching kids how to use farm-fresh produce to make simple, healthy, and delicious recipes.


The overall program, under the guidance of Education Manager Anna Glenn, aimed at showing children what it takes to make the ingredients for those recipes from the ground up, by enlisting their participation in the different stages of farm production, from seeding, transplanting, caring, and harvesting, to storing, processing, packaging, and selling.




Unlike classroom-based educational experiences, at this camp, kids partake in real farm life, entering into working and living places on the 34-acre farm where Anna’s family and friends raise crops and livestock, grow flowers for weddings, and make their home together.


Being on the farm made me notice how many great picture books for children are inspired by farm life. One of them is The Little Red Hen. The little red hen grows grain, threshes wheat, and bakes bread, all by herself, without any help from her lazy friends.


The story, which carries a great lesson about teamwork, was delightfully performed as a play for the kids at the camp, in a setting packed with plenty of charming details and blooming with the bounties of the Earth.



For pictures of activities at the Young Farmers camp, check out Silly Apron on Facebook.Β  Click “Like” to keep up with my work on youth education through food!