The Grade 5-6 Farm Team received a $500 grant from the South Whidbey Garden Club! The students requested tools and seed starting supplies, and are delighted that their grant will help other students have the equipment they need to work on the farm and grow lots of veggies.
Here is the 6th period Farm Team at work in the Garden Resource Center, writing the grant, gearing up for the Farm Stand, planting scallions and transplanting starts.
The School Farm was also awarded a $500 grant that will fund new hoophouse plastic, irrigation supplies, and more seed starting supplies.
Thank you SW Garden Club for your generous support!
So much snow and cold this winter!
But we’ve been doing our best to work between the storms, and also grow lots of starts inside.
When the weather was just impossible to bear, we took some buckets of soil into our CAFE(culinary and farm education) portable and looked closely with magnifiers to see what was living in the soil. We found an amazing array of fungus, bacteria(although we couldn’t see it) and invertebrates(lots of these wiggling around)! Everyone ended the lesson by learning the song The FBI(Fungus, Bacteria, Invertebrates) by the Banana Slug String Band. Was great to see these same students out in the garden the following week connecting and remembering what the FBI is all about and finding evidence of it at the School Farm.
And when the weather permits, the students have been turning over cover crops and preparing the beds, sifting compost, harvesting carrots, moving hoophouses, digging up our stash of seed potatoes, planting peas to examine root structure, trench composting and trapping wireworms by burying potatoes.
And thank goodness for our hoophouses where we could plant a little earlier than outside and get those veggies growing!
Yes! Spring is coming!
Students at the School Farm have enjoyed attending culinary arts classes in the CAFE(culinary and farm education) portable during the cold winter months. Luckily, there are sweet carrots in the ground ready for harvesting and using in recipes. Our first culinary lesson was tied into Chinese New Year. February 5th ushered in the year of the pig and with it students learning a little about traditional Chinese foods and customs.
We made spring rolls with shredded carrots and cabbage from the Good Cheer and School Farm gardens. The traditional filling was prepared by shredding the cabbage and carrot and then cooking it with some soy sauce to make a sweet/savory filling that students wrapped in paper thin dough and then fried in oil. The final critique from most of the students was evident as they hungrily ate up the rolls and asked to make more before returning to their classrooms.
Our next recipe was all about learning to cook flatbread. The recipe is simple and easy to follow, and gives students the ability to participate and experience the results of following a recipe and sharing the finished product. Of course flatbread needs something to go with it, and students followed recipes to make carrot, beet, and traditional hummus. There were a few complaints at the beginning of the lesson as some students said they didn’t like hummus. Interesting to note that at the end of the lesson the overwhelming opinion was ‘I don’t usually like hummus, but this is really good!!’ It was just great to see the students sitting down together at the end of class and sharing their flatbread and hummus at the big long table. There was a hush in the room as they sampled their work, and then comments about which recipe they liked the most. At the end, there was nothing left except empty plates. A satisfying lesson for both students and teachers!
qǐng màn yòng (請慢用) Enjoy your meal!
It may still be cold, but the light is returning and the students are busy preparing the farm for the coming season. Kindergarten, second graders and third graders collected all the dried scarlet runner beans off the bean tipi’s. Third graders also saved lettuce seed they will plant in their salad bar garden. Sixth grade is constructing a weather station. The Grade 5/6 Farm Teams have been busy setting up light racks, growing lettuce starts we got from Suncrest, making soil blocks, planting starts for the hoophouses, trench composting and writing grants! The Suncrest starts are for hydroponic lettuce but we find they are growing quite well in our potting soil. Here’s a photo of the Farm Team watering the lettuce, and raising the lights to keep up with their growth. Stay tuned for more photos!
Cheryl Lawrence, fiber artist and natural dye expert joined us this December at the School Farm. We had a group of enthusiastic third graders from Mrs. Sage’s class to help us harvest some Madder Root that Cheryl planted three years ago. Madder Root takes three years to mature into a useable root for dying fabric. Students noted that they were in kindergarten when the Madder was planted!
We had a sunny day in December to do the digging and cleaning. Many hands made fast work of the tangled web of roots. The next day, students joined us in the CAFE(culinary and farm education) portable to process the root and dye some wool yarn.
About a week later we had some beautiful skeins of red yarn, plus some contrasting colors to use for making weavings. All the wool was dyed with plant dyes. Mrs. Hegeness, the art teacher helped the students learn the process for weaving. It took us several art classes to complete our weavings, however the results were beautiful!
Students were enthusiastic participants from start to finish!
Looking at the School Farm this time of year with all the beds mulched, cover cropped, and quietly resting for the winter gives us all pause to reflect and remember back five years ago to our beginnings and what we’ve been able to accomplish. With 2000 K-12 student visits to the farm each month, we are thriving!
We reach out with gratitude to the South Whidbey Community, Goosefoot, South Whidbey School District, and our generous donors. We are asking for your continued support in 2019 as the program makes some big transitions.
• The generous support of Goosefoot, which allowed us to launch and sustain our program, is coming to an end in 2019.
• We have funding support from the South Whidbey school district for the farm educators who plan and deliver farm based education.
• $50,000 is needed to fund the farming and the farmers.
We reach out to all of you with our deepest thanks for your continued support. Please consider a donation to the School Farm this year. Your donations will ensure that the School Farm can continue to thrive. To donate click HERE
We’re developing some traditions at the School Farm. One that continues to fascinate is the long line of decomposing pumpkins. Nothing tells the story of decomposition like the gradient line of bright orange pumpkins lined up along the edge of the field adjacent to the farm. We start the line of cast off Halloween pumpkins with fresh looking whole pumpkins and move down the line with more and more decomposed specimens until there is a pile of black and orange goo at the end.
Students spend their last class of 2018 counting, drawing and categorizing the pumpkins. There’s always some fun drawings to see and some excited students running up and down the line checking out the colorful mold and exclaiming about the different carvings. Math comes alive as students count. This year we had one hundred and seventy nine pumpkins! For the older students there were plenty of number challenges having to do with categories and fractions. Younger students enjoyed looking closely, drawing, and discussing their favorites.
The bright orange outline along the edge of the field brightens up the cold winter landscape and gives us all a reason to smile.