Friday, March 1, 2013

The Adventures of Future Farmers and Foodies

"I feel really good. Helping feels really good," says a student from Ms. Betts' third-grade class during a Lettuce Link seed packing party at Solid Ground.

Ms. Betts and her third grade Seattle Public Schools class came to Marra Farm this past fall as part of their project-based learning curriculum with a theme of food. I met with Ms. Betts back in early October and was floored to learn that not only was her class spending all year exploring food, but that her students' questions were a driving force behind their curriculum.

Though I'm paraphrasing here (the questions by her students were far more detailed and sophisticated) they asked questions like:
What does local mean?
What's in our food?
Why is that in our food?
They even asked questions about changes in food production after the industrial revolution and World War II!

Ms. Betts' third graders have explored their own food memories, the evolution of food and the culture around food, foods eaten by Native Americans, and what it means to live sustainability.

This spring they will learn about the cost of different foods, food deserts, grocery stores, and what all the 'junk' is that's in our food and how it got there.

This group of hard-working, curious young farmers put in many hours at Marra Farm -- but they wanted to come help us even in the winter! So we put them to work here at Solid Ground, repacking the bulk seeds we purchase to distribute to food bank clients and Giving Gardeners.

First they sealed and cut envelopes:

Next they stamped and filled envelopes with pea or radish seeds:

Then they wrestled (stapled) the envelopes closed:

And finally, they put informational and translated labels on the seed packets they had just created:

After less than two hours of packing, the managed to pack over 900 seed packets! Again, I must admit I was taken aback at how many they made... They came up with a system, stuck with it, worked together with detail and precision, and were able to create quite a mountain of seed packets.

As we ended our afternoon, students shared thoughts on their experience. One student talked about how, despite her hurting hands, boredom, and frustration,  knowing she was helping others motivated her to keep going. 

Another student talked about how it was a lot of responsibility for him and his classmates to make sure they put the right amount of seeds in a packet.

Overall, the students decided that they were so efficient because they worked together as a team for the good of others.

We look forward to working these intrepid third graders again at Marra Farm this spring!

Thanks again to Ms. Betts and her hard-working team! Stay tuned for more 'Adventures of Future Farmers and Foodies' to come.

~ Mandy, Apple Corps Member with Lettuce Link

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