The Food Project: Fifth Grade Farmers

Friday, October 13, 2017

Glen Urquhart School fifth graders worked at The Food Project’s farm in Wenham this week, harvesting peppers and beets and transporting pumpkins. Ben and Miriam, the students' farmer-educators on the trip, work full-time for The Food Project, including in the GUS campus greenhouse as part of an ongoing school/organization partnership. They guided participants' labor, taught students about irrigation and staggered planting, while sharing their passion for The Food Project’s mission of bringing fresh produce to lower income families. Thanks to parent Jon Greeley for a wonderful video which was shared at Friday's student-led Morning Meeting, along with the following fifth grade presentation.

"One of the big questions we are investigating in fifth grade is 'How do people use the land?' We are reading a novel about the Penobscot tribe who lives entirely off the land. From using wood and bark for shelter to hunting fish and moose for food, the characters cannot survive without everything the land provides them. Today humans are still completely dependent on the land for every aspect of survival. In the United States, for instance, people use the land for growing and cutting down trees for lumber, mining coal for energy, raising livestock for meat, and growing crops for food. On Tuesday, we went to The Food Project's farm in Wenham. We worked as a team all morning, harvesting peppers and beets and loading them into big buckets that measured our load. While working in the fields, we learned about farming methods like irrigation, crop rotation, and staggered planting. Our work helped The Food Project's mission of bringing fresh produce to families who struggle to pay for it. Back at school, we’ve started to investigate what it might look like for different families to budget for food on a weekly basis."

Along with this eye-opening work day on The Food Project's farm, fifth graders have taken additional experiential trips this fall as part of their thematic study of "The Land." Outdoor experiences have included visits to The Trustees Coolidge Reservation in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Smolak Farms in North Andover, and GUS neighbor Chapman's Greenhouse. By exploring and observing the natural world around them, fifth graders expand their understanding of the diverse landscape and geological history of the North Shore. This effective and engaging place-based education directly informs and is reflected in student mapping projects in social studies, poetry and letter writing in language arts, and hands-on experiments about density and the earth's layers in science.

Learn more about The Food Project and their model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture.

Whitney Buckley