Here is a collection of photos from Farm Camp 2016! Find out more about our summer day camp program here.
We love getting “thank you” notes from students. They are so creative and fun.
The process of making them reinforces what they experienced here at the farm and it just makes us feel warm and fuzzy.
The variety of projects and creative output from the Wavecrest adolescent students is inspiring. Each week brings new accomplishments and progress.
Enjoy a piece of farm inspired poetry from Alec.
I know a magical place
Where all can stay in peace
A place where one an observe nature at its purest
Where all is serene
Such a as a warm summers day
All is green and lush
All is strong and flourishes
All is for the beings who care
Not like those large factories
Who’s minds aren’t on the world
Who pollute us and kill us like a crop duster kills insects on a small farm
Their minds aren’t like ours
We protect our friends
We take care of our garden
We don’t just pretend
Every Thursday, Wavecrest, Santa Cruz Montessori Junior High attends the farm and becomes immersed in the daily rhythm. They are learning the various task and the hard work it takes to get food from the field to our forks. Here is some of what they have accomplished at the farm thus far:
In Field Studies we really get down in the dirt, pulling weeds and readying the land for new crops. We’re growing a multitude of beets and carrots, turning up the old pumpkin plants that grew, working compost into the soil, and sowing the tiny seeds for a bountiful harvest.
Field Studies has taught us how to take care of the bee boxes, and how necessary honeybees are to the local ecology. The farm is a beautiful place that is full of life and learning. It’s truly incredible.
Micro Economy recently canned tomatoes at the farm. It was a new and good experience for our group since many people had never canned before. We got to boil the tomatoes, peel them, and jar them. We ended up canning 80 pounds! We also started our own micro economy farm stand. This is where we sell produce from the farm at our own school. We get to pick the produce, wash it, and prepare it for market. We also talked about how to find profits, costs, and wholesale prices. This could benefit us in working with money, at a store, bank, or restaurant in the future.
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness is important because it teaches us important aspects of the kitchen. Another enthralling experience we receive is going to YCC and learning about and helping with the young children. In Health and Wellness, we also get a chance to take leadership in planning and preparing the meals. Each meal we prepare is planned by the students- from creating the shopping list to making the dessert. We also incorporate food from the farm as often as possible, which adds fresh and healthy ingredients to every meal.
At Live Earth Farm, the art group has worked on two different projects. The first consisted of helping the farm with thank you notes for their fundraiser. Each note was attached to a string, was hot glued to a pot containing a native grass. The thank you note invited them to plant and nurture the drought resistant plant. The second is working with our guide, Noel, to create an artistic alter for the Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). The group broke up into teams, each working on a different part of the alter. Some made paper marigolds, paper mache fruit, papel picado, and drawings of los angelitos.
Fall has arrived and schools are back in session. Which means we are busy but very excited to be connecting with so many young individuals. In the midst of our hectic tour season, we appreciate the regular visits from Wavecrest, the Santa Cruz Montessori Junior High. The familiar faces we see every Thursday make the chaotic week feel a bit more balanced. The Wavecrest students are learning about the diversity of jobs on the farm. With that comes a newfound appreciation for what you buy and eat, and how it gets from the field to your fork. We are able to share that appreciation with a meal every Thursday. We enjoy a delicious spread that has been prepared from foods everyone labored around. And to me, that is one of the best moments in life.
Each week the students are taking strides in their focus groups. They are finding the rhythm of the farm and doing great work. In the ‘Field Studies’ group, students work the land amending garden beds and field rows, preparing the land for new crops that will be made into delicious lunches in a few months. The extra hands are a grateful gift, making work light and quick.
In the ‘Micro Economy’ group, students harvest crops for the school farm stand. It is an exciting process learning how to harvest properly and getting the food ready for market. The students determine the price and are watching their profit grow week to week. They have also created some of their own products for market through preserving farm fruit and vegetables.
The ‘Art’ group has been busy constructing magnets inspired by birds as well as prayer flags for a school celebration. They were also instrumental in helping the Discovery Program with preparations for the fall fundraiser, creating beautiful thank you gifts for our guests. I look forward to seeing what inspiration the farm and surrounding nature provides, and the different types of media used to express their creativity.
All the while, each week, ‘Health and Wellness’ students labor away at harvesting and preparing delicious vegetarian and vegan meals for the whole class to enjoy. The wholesome meals are thought up, planned out and executed by the students themselves. We have had fresh tomato and vegetable soup, twice baked potatoes, a hearty kale and carrot salad with avocado dressing, and apple crisp to name a few dishes.
Together, these students are learning the diversity of farm jobs and energy it takes to get food to our plates. Every visit, they learn to be stewards of the land and develop a respect for nature and how it provides for us. They have become a part of the Live Earth Farm community, where understanding the origins of our food, ties us all together.
As I dive into my college adventure I cannot help but reflect upon the importance experience has added to my life, credentials, and knowledge. Being part of the LEFDP Leader In Training program for five years now has not only extended my love of organic, wholesome farming but also enhanced what it means to teach, learn, and collaborate in an educational environment. In 2010 I joined the team for the annual LEFDP farm camps for children and since then I have come back every summer to watch the program and camps grow.
I believe the collaboration between student and teacher is key to an effective learning experience and the LIT program bridges the gap, allowing for teens to teach and learn from both the child and program leader. An LIT learns to be attentive, follow and give instructions, work with leaders, aid children, and plan/make each camp day happen.
In early summer, before the camps start, all the LITs meet and have an orientation day to learn about their roles in the program, plan camp activities and lessons (which they will then lead, themselves), learn about how to work with the children, and brainstorm community building and problem solving techniques.
Every day one leader is chosen to overlook the team and keep everyone on task, making sure dishes get done, floors swept, children helped, and food/activities prepped. Learning the process and steps it takes to have the farm camp program is really important- as is learning the importance of a sturdy foundation and behind-the-scenes team (that’s us!)
I’ve shared so many memories and laughs with the team. Letting out giggles as the kids hula their hips around the fire pit, chanting “sticks below hips!” when talking about marshmellow roasting safety. Leading “toasts” to encourage the kids to hydrate as we hike around the farm and harvest fruits and veggies. Rubbing my stomach as I describe the effects of “Berry Belly” to the kids as they feast in rows of ripe strawberries and golden raspberries for an afternoon snack.
So as the LIT program grows I urge all teens (13+) to experience this special opportunity that LEFDP has provided for the community. It is also a great community service or service learning opportunity, looks amazing on college applications (they love leadership positions) and on a resume for future job and volunteering experiences, and is the perfect setting for some fun summertime leadership learning. Come join the team- LITs rock!
By Krista Young, 5th year LIT
This Winter the Wavecrest Jr. High students are finishing up their science projects related to the theme of WATER! Thank goodness for the rain we are getting!
One of the projects was to design a native plant/drought tolerant landscape. Now that we are getting some rain it is time to put those natives in so they can benefit from the natural water. If done at the right time you only need minimal spring and summer watering of natives in order for them to become established. Once established they won’t need ANY supplemental water in the second year and that is the whole point!
Another project was comparing the qualities of two ponds here on the farm. Students used a water testing kit and collected data about nitrates, pH, turbidity, and the presence of invertebrates. I can’t wait to see the results and see how the two ponds differ.
What a great group of students we had for this rotation!
Next up –Spring!
How about that weather!? The garden and teaching fields are looking pretty bare after that frost, but we always find interesting things to learn about with the students who come to the farm.
Last week we began our winter rotation with the Santa Cruz Montessori middle school students. This winter the theme is “Water”. I can’t think of a more important topic for our region right now, especially while we are in the midst of a record drought. Water is obviously important and a critical resource for our area’s vast agricultural industry. We must learn to care for and understand our local water systems so we can intelligently address the current and future threats to our clean water. Students will learn about the complex and interconnected water systems of our area by exploring, studying, and doing science. They are designing some cool science projects and thinking about research activities, like data collection, water quality testing, studying the farm’s relationship to ground water and much more. The question posed to them by Farmer Tom at the beginning of this rotation was “What do you have physically in common with Alexander the Great or any other person who lived 1,000 years ago?” What do you think?
Also this month our awesome Homeschool group will be coming to the farm for lessons on seeds, compost, and how water connects it all. The mighty Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) are dropping acorns by the ton so it is time to learn about them. How does an Oak tree make an acorn? Who eats these acorns? Who hides them? How do they become a mighty Oak? We will explore what happens when a bean, seed or acorn meets water. We will look closely at a variety of seeds and see if we can observe the three different parts. Do you know them?
So much to learn! Happy Holidays and lets all hope and wish for rain!