Sowing Seeds to Grow Farm-Based Education
Farm-based education is any educational experience for anyone on a farm, whether it’s formal or informal, structured or unstructured, large or small. These experiences can be powerful, and we coordinate the Farm-Based Education Network (FBEN) to help support such efforts all around the country and world.
Each March and October, together with the FBEN, we welcome farmers and farm-based educators here for an introductory workshop, “The ABCs of Farm-Based Education,” because we love educating here at the Farm, but we know that so many other farms have equally inspiring stories to share. By gathering together to learn from and support one another, our reach can be greater, and our programs stronger.
This month, we offered two separate sessions of the ABCs workshop – a testament to the growing interest farmers and others have in connecting folks to the land.
Here are some photos from the sessions, along with reflections from participants on what resonated with them, what they learned, and most importantly: how they’ve been changed. [Photos by Courtney Ley Photography]
“This was my second time attending; and I’d do it a third time. I learned a lot about transitions between activities, using effective language (for kids and adults), and just admire the passion you clearly have for this work, and making it accessible.”
“A very powerful moment was seeing the Children’s Garden with Jed. I felt like I could totally swing that at my own place and I started to feel much less overwhelmed and switched over to excitement.”
“In my district, we’re just starting farm to school, so you gave us many ideas on how to connect the classroom, community, and cafeteria. They’re all interwoven.”
“The discussions helped me realize and affirm that many others are on a similar journey and that we can work together to brainstorm ideas and solve problems. We are not alone in this process.”
“A powerful workshop moment for me was the scavenger hunt followed by the moments in the forest and the critter crawl. Every moment was full of learning, and I am inspired to plan all moments of my time outdoors more intentionally.”
“The inclusion section really got me thinking about my site and if we are meeting different peoples’ needs, and if we are not, how we could be.”
“I feel like developing lessons for programs was like digging around in a room with a flashlight, and then someone flipped the light switch. I have a much more holistic view of education on a farm.”
“The peer consulting exercise was amazing: The opportunity to get some fresh eyes and ears on our project’s challenges was so helpful. I got some constructive feedback, fresh ideas, and provoking questions. I have no doubt that that exercise will influence our program.”
“Trekking through the snow really connected me in a positive way to being outside in ALL types of weather, and offering children’s programs that do that, too.”
“I realized that I am finally returning to my roots, literally, as I return to the farm. But no longer as a farm girl, but as a teacher who wants to share the power of a farm and farm animals with others to heal our fragmented world.”