A space for youth learn about food from seed to soil to our tables
Past SEED Programs
Art and the Farm During this class, we worked with a local Girl Scout troop to help them earn their outdoor arts badge. We took a tour of the farm, designed our own bird houses and even got to visit all the animals. We learned what the different parts of the animal do for the animal and then we got to create our own creature, combining those different features of different animals!
Creating Healthy Snacks During this class, we worked with another local Girl Scout troop to help them with their snack badge. In this class, we talked about nutrients in food and what they are used for. We discussed good fats and bad fats, sugars and protiens and discovered what they do for our bodies. We then got to make some yummy snacks that we healthy, simple and fun to make at home!
S.T.E.A.M. and Compost This class was designed for a group of students who came to visit from a local boarding school. We talked about compost, learned how to scout and keep track of unwanted insect populations. The students also learned about integrated pest management and how that works out at the farm, they even got to see it first hand as farm dog/mascott Bella captured a mouse for them!
We will get our hands dirty and see how soil insects strengthen a plant’s growing environment! We will make soil shapes, count worms and create a rainstorm to see what creepy crawlies do for farmers
As fall fades, farmers are thankful for winter squash, potatoes, garlic and so much more! Join us and cook seasonal, traditional thanksgiving dishes! Take home recipes to try with your family this thanksgiving.
Eco-Art: Felting Sheep’s Wool
Join us on the farm and learn how to turn nature into artwork. First learn how to clean and comb sheep wool. Then dye our wool with found objects before wet felting the wool as a class. While we wait for our wool to dry, bake a delicious farm-grown snack as a class!
Red Wigglers and Food Waste: Vermicompost
Explore the sometimes slimy but always fun world of worms! We will investigate the insides of a worm, and use a microscope to check out what is in worm waste, also known as “castings.” Don’t miss this great opportunity to visit the farm’s worm shack, learn all about “vermicompost” and understand why red wiggling worms really are wonderful!
The Science of Farming
Have you ever wondered what a farm would look like through the lens of a microscope? Join us on the farm to go on a “micro-safari.” We will collect specimens like veggies and insects to view under the microscope, prepare our own slides, and see the world in a new way!
The Five Senses of Farming
Can you name the five senses? Come out to the farm to discover some of the best sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches that the landscape has to offer! We will explore the herb garden with our noses, go on a scavenger hunt to search for hard to find veggies, touch the newborn chicks, and taste some special farm treats.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Super Sun!
Energy comes in many forms…you use energy everyday and so does our farm! Feel the power of the sun while learning all about the farm’s solar panels. Plus discover the difference between the farm’s tractors, dive into our warm greenhouses, and try a sun-baked snack from our solar oven!
Biogas and Byproducts: Fuel for thought
Come learn all about the farm’s big burrito-shaped biogas digester. Take a trip to the pasture to collect some “fuel” and then watch as waste is turned into the farm’s famous “poopcorn!” Also check out the worm shack and learn how the farm replenishes the soil by re-using and recycling. Winter Wonders at the Farm
Celebrate winter by joining us on the farm during its snowy hibernation! Come learn all about honey and how to make salve from beeswax. Then warm up inside a yurt with a yummy baked good from our wood-fired oven!
The Art of the Farm
Students will get the opportunity to explore the various parts of the Dickinson Farm through the lens of an artist! Their materials will range from paints, to chicken feathers, and even vegetables!
Life of a Farmer
Ever wonder what a farmer does? Students will explore the farm through its daily activities. They will get to talk to one of our student workers about the different jobs they do through interactive activities such as learning about compost, taking care of farm animals, and the growing cycle of plants!
Creatures of the Farm
The Dickinson College Farm has cows, chickens, and sheep! Spend time outside learning about what each animal eats, where each animal lives, as well as activities using sheep wool, chicken eggs, and ice cream!
It All Starts With a Seed!
Discover how recycling our food waste and relying on worms help our plants to grow big and strong. We will build our own compost pile, examine worms and eat some delicious “dirt!”
Let’s Ruminate About Ruminants!
Do you know what a ruminant is?! Come take a walk around the farm with us to learn all about cows and sheep. We will discover how they process their food, make crafts out of sheep’s wool and make our own butter!
Lively Ladybugs and Gnawing Grasshoppers
Check out the farm’s insect collection and discover which insects are pests and which are predators! We will make our own insect books and go on a scavenger hunt around the farm. Try some delicious “bug juice” for a snack!
Example of a SEED Class: May Day Celebration
We had the unique experience of incorporating CSA members and SEED students into the May 4th class, May Day Celebration. To start the beautiful morning off right everyone was asked to describe an aspect about spring that they most appreciated. Ethan began as he gestured above him saying how grateful he was for the bright blue sky. Sydney loves watching the butterflies flutter around from flower to flower. Ragen enjoys listening to the peepers in her backyard. After listening to each child and helper’s thankfulness for spring, it seemed that we were all in agreement in our adoration for the earth as it comes alive with the warmer weather.
After introducing the workshop’s topic, we took time to shake out our legs and identified the different types of gardens around the farm. When we reached the greenhouses we felt a heat wave sweep over the greens and exit the greenhouse. The doors were held wide open in efforts to ventilate and protect the lettuce and other greens from the heat. The children had a chance to look inside the greenhouse at the raised beds and understand that plants can grow in gardens in open air and inside as long as they are fed water and receive proper soil and nutrients from the sun. We also discussed the similarities between gardens and our bodies because in essence, our bodies are gardens. We feed our bodies with water and healthy foods with lots of nutrients, and we receive vitamins that only the sun can provide. But instead of being planted in rich soil we surround ourselves with healthy people that feed our character the same way that soil might feed the character of a plant. In the same way that we tend to our gardens with care, so we must tend to our bodies with care as well.
In order to demonstrate healthy gardens we made our way down to the children’s garden and plotted ourselves down by the rainbow garden. We mixed compost into the preexisting dirt to enrich the soil and offer more nutrients to the future vegetation. We had three different colored potatoes: pink, purple and yellow. Within a few minutes the entire bed was full of multicolored potatoes that were out of sight and we will not see them again until we harvest them sometime in July or August.
We took a short break from the gardening and all of the SEED students, their guardians, the volunteers and myself piled onto the hay bale seats as Farmer Jenn hopped on the tractor to give us the grand tour of the farm. We passed by the chickens, the fallowing fields, the bee boxes, the hub ponds that attract beneficial insects, the strawberries, the yurts, and then we arrived back at the barn. We resumed our position planting in the children’s garden but transitioned to the pizza garden. There we planted all the essentials for making a pizza such as wheat, tomatoes, onions, basil and admired the oregano that was already planted. As one student inquired, “Since we’re planting all the ingredients for pizza, that means that we get to come back and make pizza, right?” When the pizza garden is ready to be harvested, I think SEED students may just have to return and partake in a celebratory pizza party!
Time was running away from us on a beautiful sunny day. It was approaching the end of our class and the May Pole who’s ribbons danced majestically in the wind had not even been touched. We left our mark in the gardens and walked over to stand beneath the 10 foot May Pole tree. The tree was a nontraditional bamboo structure with fourteen ribbons dangling from the middle of the pole. As we planted our feet on the ground and heard the beat of the drums, we attempted the traditional May Pole dance, going over and under the person facing us. After two valiant tries we tried a less complicated and equally enjoyable dance around the May Pole. The children and friends danced around the tree moving in one direction and then another, spinning around themselves, walking towards the tree and then moving back to the outside. When I asked everyone to freeze, we looked up at the tree and saw the beautiful pattern that we had made around the pole. When we resumed the dance we had to move around in the other direction to undo the pattern that we had just created. We were pretty close to perfect!
I was so appreciative not only to the earth at our May Day Celebration, but to the children and guardians, volunteers and friends that helped make the day a true celebration. I had never participated in a May Pole dance before and I was really impressed by the way that everyone picked up on the movements so quickly. Although I am sad to say that it is my last time teaching a SEED class, I am so happy to say that I ended on a picture perfect day!
Sweet Trees & Bees
This past Saturday was SEED’s first class of 2013! We had a total of 12 participants, 5 volunteers, and many parents and guardians packed into the farm’s biggest yurt.Before the class began, I walked outside and saw a few flurries of snow drift down from the sky. The volunteers and I were a little concerned about the forecast and hoped that the yurt had enough heat. But before we could worry more, the yurt was filled with warm bodies and warm hearts. The kids filtered through the front door and were handed a piece of paper and a marker to draw their own version of a maple tree. When the students finished their artwork, everyone explained to their neighbor what made their maple tree unique and where in the world these trees might be found. We learned that the sugar maple trees are most popular in Canada and various parts of New England. But maple trees are not limited to these regions, they are also found in areas like Pennsylvania. Many of the students were familiar with maple trees and could attest that the sap that comes out of the trees is awfully sweet! Some even admitted to having maple syrup on their pancakes and waffles for breakfast!
The SEED volunteers and I were so proud of the students because they helped to teach us about the process of tapping maple trees. We had our own maple tree inside the yurt and labeled the tree with the steps of the tapping process. First, we drilled a hole in the tree. Next, we placed a spigot in the hole of the tree to guide sap to drip out into a buck. We hung the bucket below the spigot to collect the sap, and then put a lid on top of the bucket to keep out any animals that wanted a sip of the sweet sap. Finally, we brought the bucket to a big fire and boiled the sap to make maple syrup! We learned that it takes FOURTY gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree to make ONE gallon of the yummy syrup.
Our maple tree was labeled with the sugaring steps, but it looked like something was missing so we asked the kids to decorate their own maple leaf and tape it to the tree. They used maple leaf stencils to design and personalize their own maple leaves. They then hung their red leaves on the big maple tree. The yurt was more beautiful than ever but the outdoors was calling our names.
We lined up by the door and one of our young farmers, Owen, explained a game similar to “Sharks and Minnows” but renamed it with “Sap and Trees.” We started with five “trees” in the middle while the “sap” lined up ready to hear the command to cross the forest. All those designated as “sap” had to avoid being tagged by a “tree”, but if they got caught they turned into a “tree” and became a part of the forest of maple trees. The “trees” yelled, “1,2,3 Sap Sap run through me!” Then the “sap” players ran through the “trees” and hoped not to get caught. When all the “sap” players were tagged, a new round began. We played three rounds and then we journeyed back to the yurt to practice a mindful eating exercise.
Everyone had to close their eyes and put out their hands. I passed out a sugary treat and waited until everyone had one. When I said “okay” they were allowed to sniff the treat, taste it, and guess- in their mind- what in the world they were eating. After about a minute of silence the group was excited to reveal what it was. Hands shot up, waving in the air. All of them thinking and mumbling, “I know! I know!” I told them to open their eyes and to one by one tell me what it was they tasted. They described the secret treat to be sweet, soft, easy to dissolve, and of course – yummy. All of the children guessed that the special treat was a maple sugar candy. They guessed right, but if they had seen it before trying it they would have seen the candy was in the shape of a maple leaf- giving away its identity!
After this activity we moved onto the topic of the second hour which was just as sweet: honey! We began with a game of true or false. Every time I said a statement about honeybees the group had to “buzzzzzz” if it was false or flap their arms like wings if it was true.
“Bees do NOT sleep.” The buzzes started. “False? Are you sure?” I inquired with a smile. The buzzes stopped and the wings started to flap. It’s hard to believe, but bees do not sleep. In the true and false game we learned some amazing things about bees. We learned that they fly up to 15 mph and flap their wings over 11,000 times per second, which causes the buzzing noise to occur. After learning the basics of the honeybee we went one step deeper. We learned about the queen bee, the female worker bees, and the male drones bees that live in the hive.
We then broke-up into two different groups and acted out the roles of each of the bees within the hive. Then we learned how to do a bee dance! Unlike humans, bees do not communicate with words, they use dance. When a honeybee finds a patch of flowers that has lots of sweet nectar they want to share this information with the other bees in the hive. Worker bees describe directions to the flower patch to fellow worker bees by waggling their abdomen. We had the kids practice the waggle dance. A group of students would hide the flowers and the other group had to guess where the flowers were by interpreting the waggle dance. I saw some really good waggles!
The last activity of the day was candle making with beeswax. Each student was given a sheet of colored bees wax and a wick to make their very own candle. While the kids were busy as bees working on their candles the volunteers passed around samples of “Spring Wildflower Honey” from Dawg Gone Bees. The sweet honey gave them all the energy they needed to complete the last task of the day.
The volunteers and I were so happy to have such a fabulous group of kids participate in Sweet Trees and Bees. It was our biggest class yet! We are looking forward to our next class on April 6th,The Incredible (Organic) Egg. All previous SEED students are welcome to signup as are all new participants!
Registration opens today, March 6th so make sure you signup quick!
With only two weeks left before the first SEED class of 2013, I have been in full-out preparation mode. Tasks for the week have included finalizing the curriculum, meeting with Jenn, creating a blog, distributing posters around Carlisle, and discussing the lesson plan with our volunteers. On Monday, Jenn and I tweaked the agenda for March’s Sweet Trees and Bees curriculum, and packed it with hands-on activities. Next on the list was to make a blog for SEED. I was fortunate enough to get some help from Ryan Burke, one of Dickinson’s social media experts. Ryan established the site while I spent a significant part of my Monday afternoon absorbed in the long list of blog themes – arranging and rearranging the toolbar and background pictures. I have little experience with social media, so it will take some time before I can comfortably navigate my way around the wordpress site. However, I hope to eventually reach out to members of the Carlisle and Boiling Springs area about SEED through the blog, and maybe even through twitter – but no promises yet!
Apart from the internet, there are other ways to introduce SEED to the community. I rarely have free time to walk downtown on High Street to meet and greet various shopkeepers, but on Thursday afternoon I distributed posters to the local shops and restaurants. It was so gratifying to have personal interactions with the people that make this town run. My spirits were lifted when I received positive feedback on the program and when everyone I asked was more than happy to advertise for SEED. This week was a good reminder that this program is designed not only to teach kids about sustainable food practices, but it is also about making connections within a community. Every adult and child that comes out to the College Farm should feel that they are connected with the Dickinson community, with the student farm workers, with each other, and with the earth. All of my students should know that they are planting seeds for their future not only by cultivating food, but also by cultivating their community.
I have personally developed a more solidified space in the Carlisle community since starting this program. The initiative has forced me to talk with fellow-farmers, professors, schoolteachers, and parents. The feeling of warm acceptance that I experience as I engage in this work is wonderful – and I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide young people with this same sentiment.
Our volunteers for Saturday’s class are more than excited to participate. It is a chance for them to work with, and learn from our students, while engaging in the richness of the Carlisle community – one that is not omnipresent in the college realm. We cannot wait for SEED’s kickoff this Saturday!!!