Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just Another Day at the Farm

I recently came across a TV news report about more and more children spending summers on the farm - at farm camps.  The idea is to reconnect children with nature, the source of our food, and hopefully build the farmers - or at least informed eaters - of the future.

As luck would have it, my boys just finished up a week at "farm camp".  They came home dirtier than I have ever seen them and with quite a few scrapes and bruises.  I worried about lack of structure and/or supervision through out the week and bemoaned the 30 minute commute to and from the camp.  At the end of the week, though, I realized "farm camp" was one of the best things I've ever done for my children.

Sure, I have my own micro farm at home but it is not quite the same.  It is run by Mom, instead of Farmer Tom.  It has chickens but no ducks, no duck pond, no pig named Olivia or goat named Lady and, well, the list continues.  It is not adjacent to open space.  There are not mature trees here from which ropes hang or a grove where forts are built from found sticks - though we're working on the last one.

For my child who struggles in school and with the constraints of suburban life, it was a week of freedom.  A week where deficits became strengths.  For my child who thrives in the life of densely populated, he grew, learned to explore and get dirty.  And for me, I felt the joy in watching my kids have just another day at the farm.

Treasures brought home from farm camp.

We'll see you again next summer.  (Unless we're doing a Farm Stay or a dude ranch, which technically qualifies as Agritourism!).

** Click here for the CBS News Report on summers at the farm.

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Exchange Hosting Service said...

Nice pics!

Chile said...

Three of my nieces have been spending summers at organic farm camps for years. They work in the fields and then eat what they harvest for meals. I think it's great for kids to have this kind of exposure to where food really comes from, whether their family has a home garden or not.

Diana said...

That sounds wonderful. I am more and more appreciative of having a childhood during the 60's in a small town, with nothing to do in the summers but play in the woods and pastures, just get on horses and ride (no lessons), walking up to the store by the one traffic light, getting a coke and walking back just to have a way to pass the afternoon, there being only soaps on the 3 tv stations and nothing to watch.

North Jersey Air Systems said...

I think it is a lovely idea to reconnect children with the nature and also make them aware that they have to love and protect this wonderful resource.

Green Bean said...

@Exchange - Thank you!

@Chile - I totally agree. I'm going to look for more and longer opportunities for my kids next year and beyond.

@Diana - Yes, we really had it made! (I was in the 70s and it was similar). Now, kids spend less and less time outside - even mine and I am constantly trying to get them to go outside in every way I can think of.

@NJ - Thank you! It is nice to see the trend is growing.

SharleneT said...

Thank goodness, something is being done to teach children that there is a life outside! If they aren't taught to connect to the earth, they'll never care for it. I think we've made a big mistake in making their lives so centered around technology. It's not the end-all be-all and has to be put in perspective. I'm sure your boys will be thrilled to return to the farm...

Green Bean said...

Thank you, Sharlene! I agree. This generation is all about electronics. We need to keep them connected to the natural world for all of our sakes.


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