Sharing the Bounty

{Everyone gettin’ a chance to sow lettuce.}
June has finally rolled in!
Nearly everything has been put into the ground and is ready for those three magic ingredients: water, heat and lots of sun.  The days are still accruing minutes of additional growing time for plants.  And those plants are scrambling to build architectures to catch those photons while the gettin’ is good.  What a sight to see!  All these tiny twigs turn into massive green plants bearing the fruit we all need for nights of endless… salsa ;)

And what a sight to share!   Folks at the farm love spreading their enthusiasm for what they do.  We strongly believe local food production is a great way to bring about a healthy change in our minds, bodies and communities.  Whether its specialty crop research of kale varieties trials that benefit farmers or hosting little tours to share ideas and knowledge on grazing and horticulture practices, we seek connections with folks near and far to strengthen our skills and others.  Even the youngest easily plug into the farm life here connecting the dots they learn about.  Where does my food come from?  Who grows what I eat?  How is it all connected?

 This week, as we begin our annual journey sharing the bounty of the gardens with our CSA, we had the opportunity to share what we do with Fort Atkinson’s Luther Public School 2nd Graders!  And what fantastic tour!  It’s the perfect break from hand-hoeing thousands of tomatos and you get to explore the farm from a new four foot perspective.   
In our schools, we have Americorp volunteers doing crucial work assisting teachers and creating new opportunities for our children in public school settings.  They perform many theme’s and the one we worked with does food and gardening with children.  They reached out looking for farmers interested in talking with kids about farming and I couldn’t help but bite.  I always enjoyed my old days of after-school programming and what better way to make new friends in Fort than talking about what you love (and offering a brief break from the school routine!).   
{Clint connecting food from the store with the seeds they came from}
I went to the classroom prepared for an hour long discussion/Q&A and ended up with these kids schooling ME and eating through my material in less 30 minutes!  These teachers, assistants and PARENTS really have it together.  Bringing together concepts of how plants grow with plant seedsaving ended up being quite simple.  Everyone knows what plants need: sun, soil, water and LOVE!  They really enjoyed connecting the plants they love eating with the seed it originated with.
The classroom quickly lead to an invitation to the farm and a couple hours of unstructured rambling about the grange, a perfect space for learning.  Being a very diversified, having only two hours seemed like it might be tight.  But it came very quickly to them.  Everyone knew what was on a farm: chickens, tractors, vegetables, land, trees, water, space, worms, people.  Everyone quickly snapped out what happens on a farm:  planting, mowing, watering, caring, chores, harvesting, playing. 
{Clint is demonstrating a seed planter.} 
Luther school doesn’t have a kids garden yet, but everyone got the chance to sow some lettuce and flowers seeds on the farm.  They witnessed how kale, beets and onions send up stalks to make seed for future food.   They did the usual chores too like watering starts, feeding chickens and eating handfuls of HONEYBERRIES!  Connecting these kids to food that can grow right here in Fort and can be eaten so fresh really turned the lightbulbs on.  You just plant a perennial bush and you get berries before strawberries? For years?!   Judging by their enthusiasm I’m sure there’ll be many opportunities ahead for tours and taste-testing!
{Children finding out you can eat something RIGHT off a plant and it’s incredibly delicious!}
Here’s to a tasty and fun beginning to the season!  Enjoy the coming bounty.  We look forward to sharing!
~ Clint, June 7th, 2017