A Final Farm Update for this School Year

It’s hard to believe, but we are wrapping up year three on our school farm sites! While it has been a fun, productive school year, full of learning and growing and eating delicious foods, it has also challenged us in new and different ways.

At the elementary campus, the spring farm related arts rotation has found Kindergarteners and 2nd graders outside growing and harvesting collards, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, lettuces, and root crops for the lunch menus; studying how plants grow, life cycles, and pollinators; and pulling weeds, sowing seeds, and snacking on sugar snap peas, blackberries, and strawberries right from the vine (those things never make it to the cafeteria!). Other grade levels have joined the work/fun with their classroom teachers and Ms. Lupo by coming out for farm chore shifts to help transition the farm from spring to summer. That means up-potting summer seedlings in the greenhouse, transplanting heat-loving plants like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes, and regularly checking the blueberry bushes to see if any are ripe yet.

The middle campus farm has also been turning out the spring produce–including our first-ever parsnip harvest!–and between the Farm Club students and Friday advisory groups coming out, we’re looking ready for summer. Peppers are starting to pop and many summer flowers are already in full bloom. While we all love to work with the plants there, the most excitement has been reserved for our new flock of chickens. We have seven hens and one rooster–a mix of Rhode Island Reds and Easter Eggers (also known as Americaunas)–and we just wrapped up an extended naming contest. Students submitted their suggestions and then voted on their favorites, so *drumroll, please*…. Our rooster is Dwight Yolkham (get it?), and our ladies are Fiesta, Sylvie, Goblin, Eclipse, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. We can’t wait until they begin laying eggs, likely in August or September.

This time of year is always so full and busy, and life out on the farm is no different, but one of the many things the farm crew is so grateful for are the opportunities that farming and learning in nature provide for slowing down and fostering connection. While we work with intention to create and maintain spaces that feel safe and welcoming, and invite curiosity and meaningful interaction, we almost don’t even have to–the students just get it. They naturally meander and wander; they ask questions and share stories and talk about their favorite foods or what they’re growing at home or at their grandparents’ house; they notice the tiniest details that can get lost on us adults that look at these spaces over and over again in the same sorts of ways. It truly is a gift to be outside, growing and learning alongside your children, and getting to be a small part of the story of their lives. Thanks so much for sharing them with us!