Lessons in the Harvest
On Friday last week, the Medford Middle School agriculture class, along with their teacher Lisa Kopp, came to We Grow to assist with the winter squash harvest. We knew in August that there was going to be a glut of fruit in this particular crop and Kopp has been asking for an opportunity to get her students involved in We Grow since we connected in her classroom last spring.
The students arrived first thing in the morning and we were fortunate to have a very light dew and sunny skies. Armed with branch cutters and crates, the kids began searching through the sprawling, tangled mess of squash vines to find the famed fruits. Students shuttled crates full back to the landing where we had large bins waiting, one for each variety. Several students cleaned the dirt and sorted them while the others continued to harvest. The fun is in finding the squash and not knowing how big and small or what color and shape you would find next. Hoots and hollars were heard when someone found their excitement.
With only one hour in the schedule for actual harvesting, things were happening as rapidly as possible. But lessons were learned in covering a harvest area, taking fewer steps, lifting with the knees, handling produce in general and most importantly working together. Students also got a peak at what we do here. As usual, the animals were the greatest attraction.
The lessons will continue back at school. The class took a box of squash back to the classroom where they will learn how to cook it. And with such a bountiful harvest, we have agreed to donate enough spaghetti squash to the school for the cafeteria to serve it at lunch.
We set a goal two years ago to grow enough of something to be able to donate it to the schools. We hope this is only the beginning. The nutrition of our youth needs to be top notch, free from harmful chemicals and made of whole ingredients, not processed, if we expect them to learn and grow and address childhood illness and obesity. Getting kids involved in the farm might not be the fastest route to healthy eating, but it will have long term effects when these kids learn how to grow their own food.