The Sowing Seeds kids took their second field trip of the year this past Wednesday, to the Farmers Market! For some of them, this was their very first experience of a Farmers Market. Because we also focus on health and wellness in the SS program, we incorporated our daily exercise by walking from the kids’ neighborhood to the Market. Thanks for Johnson City Police Officer Brittany Killebrew, the roads were monitored and blocked as necessary so that the class could cross very safely. We are incredibly thankful to her, as were the kids who told me that they call her “Second Mama” because, one child explained, “She is the one who watches out for you and tells you where to go when your Mama isn’t there.”
Each child was paired with a volunteer teacher chaperone with whom they stayed paired with the entire field trip. Once we arrived at the Farmers Market, each child was given $6 to spend. Where did the money come from? They raised it! Before everyone began exploring, we circled up and talked about the day when they sold peach trees grown in a Food Forest nursery bed to community members. They raised over $100 that day. Now they are able to enjoy their hard work by spending that money at the Farmers Market. We also identified how they are supporting people in their community who grow food by spending their money here. We also identified differences in the experience of a farmers market versus the grocery store.
The children then wandered off to explore the Farmers Market and get to know the farmers who were selling there. They were encouraged to introduce themselves and ask the farmers at least 2 questions about their work growing food. Some asked, “What is the hardest part about farming?”
A few students asked about veggies they had never heard of before.
A couple students asked the man who makes soap how he makes it from goat’s milk and asked about the hardest part of the process. By asking questions like this, the students are able to connect with their food and the people who grow it in a whole new way (not to mention practice with math, budgeting, and spending money). They also were able to reinvest in their local community and make a real connection meeting the person who would directly receive their money—an all too rare experience in an age of large corporate-owned stores.
(Above: The SS Kids get to know the farmers and have real-life experiences managing their own money and reinvesting in their local community.)
A few students even left feeling inspired to farm and create their own business!
Officer Killebrew guided us safely back to the neighborhood again and the kids were excited to offer her the gift we picked up for her at the Farmers Market—fresh blueberries and strawberries, along with a rose one boy picked for her. Community-building is at the center of the heart of Sowing Seeds.
We are so thankful for all of those who make this program possible.