Congress in 2010 designated October as Farm to School month to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food. Many of our elementary classes participated in Farm to School Month by visiting local growers.
During First Grade Ag Day, first grade classes toured Neil and MaryElla Johnson’s farm where they learned about local agriculture. First Grade Ag Day is an annual event sponsored by Iowa State University Extension in partnership with local FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapters. The classes attended stations where they learned about sheep, poultry, swine, beef cattle, and dairy cattle. Other exhibits included grain production, farm implements/safety, forestry and soil science. Students also got to take a hayrack ride!
In September, Kindergarteners visited Baxter’s Apple Orchard in Nauvoo where they got to see several varieties of apple trees. The orchard also produces grapes and peaches. Students sampled grape juice and picked their own apple to take home. They learned about the important role bees play in producing fruit. The tours included a look at the tools needed to care for and harvest the fruit and how apple cider is made. The trip to and from the Apple Orchard gave students an opportunity to see the river and spot signs of fall.
October 1st, Kindergarteners visited McVeigh’s Pumpkin Patch in Hamilton, IL. Students learned about how crops grow, from how the bees pollinate the blooms, to how the blooms form the pumpkins. One lucky class got to see a bee hard at work inside a bloom, then were able to take the bloom back to school to closer examine the tiny pumpkin bulb forming underneath. Classes were able to view the farm equipment, koi pond, and even saw the Pumpkin Patch’s new addition-pigs! The students learned about the foods we eat that come from pigs. Students learned about how corn and soybeans grow and the various ways we use those crops while walking through the corn maze. The tour included a fun hayrack ride too.