Harvesting smiles in edible outreach
Last updated 6/29/2021 at Noon
Seed to Table Oregon’s Community Outreach and Education Coordinator Hannah Joseph is harvesting smiles and curiosity from her students. Her background as a gardening and cooking educator in public schools has her Sisters students reaping the benefits of Joseph’s teaching style.
“Edible education is a powerful tool for sparking wonder in the natural world, expanding our palates to try new foods, fostering socio-emotional skills, and connecting to academics,” said Joseph. “As a new member to the Seed to Table team, I have loved learning from the students who visit the farm and who have been part of Seed to Table programming for years.”
Last week, the fifth graders on the farm showed ability not only at transplanting, but also at explaining the farm ecosystem and food webs surrounding them.
“It’s great to see them connecting their classroom learning with their years of Seed to Table field trips,” said Joseph.
This spring, Joseph worked with 2nd-6th graders from Sisters Elementary School and Sisters Middle School. Each class planted seeds in their classroom in March, then they came out to the farm for field trips in April and May.
“We have been transplanting our seedlings and learning about the ins and outs of the farm ecosystem. Highlights include meeting the worms in the vermicompost bin, identifying all of the plant parts in a farm scavenger hunt, and making a garden-on-a-cracker harvest snack!” said Joseph.
Joseph says it’s hard to choose a favorite part of the field trips, but seeing students bond with red wiggler worms is pretty hard to beat.
“At first, they tend to be nervous, then by the end of our worm-anatomy lesson, it’s not uncommon for a third grader to ask if they can take Billy the Worm home,” she said.
Another favorite is harvesting. Students planted their seedlings in April and returned to the farm in May to see how they’ve grown.
“We harvested spinach, kale, collard greens, radishes, hakurei turnips, and tasted some of our weedy but delicious friend, purslane. Then we each assembled our Garden on a Cracker and tasted our veggies,” Joseph explained.
Joseph shared some of the comments she’s received from her students: “My mom is going to be proud of me because I don’t eat healthy and I tried it today!” said one 2nd grader. Another student said, “I kinda want to live in the hoop house so I could eat salad every day!”
“We continue to value our partnership with the teachers, staff, and families in the Sisters School District.,” said Joseph. “We would like to give a special thanks to the Grey Family and The Roundhouse Foundation for their committed three-year support of our education programs.”