Last fall, a group of 8th grade students from Ocala STEAM Academy visited Veggielution for a farm tour. As I led these students around the farm, I felt the need to engage with them through hands on activities. Instead of standing among the compost piles and answering questions, I wanted to experience building and turning a pile together, pointing out the different phases that compost goes through, talking with the students while getting our hands dirty. When we walked through the flourishing fields, I imagined leading the group down a dense row of tomatoes, harvesting different varieties, and then leading the kids through a taste test of each kind to investigate the different flavors.
Eastside Explorers is an upcoming field trip program, which will provide the experiential learning opportunities for students that have long been envisioned by the Veggielution team. East Side middle school students will have the chance to see their science standards come to life on the farm. I am so excited to witness young people connecting with their food system, and engaging with a farm right in their own neighborhood. Adolescence is a time when we develop our sense of self and sense of place. My hope is that these trips will provide students with a memorable and meaningful experience, enabling each of them to see their ability to influence the future of sustainable urban agriculture in their own communities.
Eastside Explorers is generously support by Applied Materials Foundation.