Down on the Farm

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Yesterday was our first after school field trip – we piled onto the “I am Binghampton” bus and journeyed a whole 1.1 miles from the school around the corner to the Urban Farm on Waynoka Cove.  You can read about the Farm on their Facebook page, but in a nutshell, it’s a 3 acre farm that replaced an abandoned apartment complex that had become a haven for drugs and crime.  The farm sources local markets (including the BDC’s own Urban Farms Market during the summer) and is almost always hosting groups who are helping serve or learning how to grow their own food.  The field trip was the first installment of what will be monthly trips there with the after school garden club.  

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The garden club meets every Thursday afternoon in the Carpenter St. Community Garden.  The guys from the Farm come help with planting and building boxes, but all of the growing and upkeep is done by residents on the street (including us).  The kids who come on Thursday afternoon have their own 4’X8′ boxes which will be planted with winter crops next Thursday!  

Our time at the farm was great – Jake Wiig (sadly not related to Kristin Wiig) is an intern at the farm this year through the SOS Academy.  He spent time growing up working on a farm in Nebraska and loves kids.  Jake toured us around the farm and explained everything from why certain things were planted in certain places to how they harvest chicken eggs.  We finished our time with a snack of fresh picked vegetables and herbs from the farm – a tomato, some sweet purple hull peas, mint, basil and an herb whose name I can’t remember that smells like lemon.

It was a great experience for our kids.  Some of them were super engaged and asked tons of questions, some just followed the group around mesmerized by all of the different sights and smells.  While talking to the kids on the way back to the school I was struck by how great the experience was, even for those who didn’t pay much attention.  It was something completely out of the normal afternoon routine for them – some head home to a parent, some with siblings and some hang out with friends until parents are off of work for the day.  Sometimes trouble finds them, sometimes they get bored and go looking for trouble (most of the time not) but today they were farmers.  

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