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Posts Tagged ‘farmers market’

A series of upcoming posts are going to switch from teaching about gardening to teaching about food (which are, of course, intertwined) and this seemed like a good time to talk about that overlap.

To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure is a great, new addition to any garden, farm, or food study in school or the home. The box is visually engaging and scientifically detailed, yet designed for children ages 4 and up. (When we say “and up” we mean it – this book could easily be used from K to 12 in different ways.)

How does Ms. McClure accomplish this? The book tells the story of a boy and his mom who go to the farmers market. They buy apples, kale, salmon, honey, cheese, blueberry turnovers, and hand-dyed napkins. Each product gets two pages. The first, like the apple page seen here, is very simple. It introduces Michael, who grows the apples.

This page, appropriate for students of all ages, is followed by a much more detailed page that further explains the story of Michael and the apples (click the image to see it in full detail).

This page, of course, is much too detailed for most kindergarteners to read on their own. However, you could use this information in a number of ways in your classroom.

The detailed background information could be used by the teacher for reference. Or you could give this book to an advanced student or a student who is very interested in where food comes from for their own independent study. Or, you could design a great group project with this book:

Start with a class read-aloud where you skip the detailed pages completely. Students will learn the basics of what products the family buys. Then, divide your class into groups of mixed ability (each group should have at least one student with a relatively high reading level). One group will study apples, one group kale, one group salmon, etc. The groups will then be responsible for reading the detailed information, learning the process of making or growing the product, and then tell the story in words or pictures, and then present their work to the rest of the class. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of how much work it takes for one product to get onto their table and hear the work of the other groups explaining the other products.

What other curricular connections do you see? How might you use To Market, To Market in your classroom?

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Growing food in a classroom is great, but it’s also wonderful to go to a farm and see lots of food being grown. Students start to link plants to the food on their plate. Learning about where food comes from will also prepare students to learn about food transportation and related sustainability issues as they grow older.

There are actually lots of farms in New York City and fall is a great time for a visit, enabling students to learn about harvest. Check out these farms, both contemporary and historic, throughout New York City. All of them offer field trip options; farms marked in bold type offer field trips to all grades, including early childhood.

Of course, if you don’t teach in one of these neighborhoods, another option is to find your closest community garden and arrange a visit there. One way to find a local garden is to use the Green Apple Map. Click the link, zoom in to your neighborhood, and find out where a local community garden is located: http://www.greenapplemap.org/. Additionally, to find information about and resources for community gardening, see Green Thumb: http://www.greenthumbnyc.org/. Oasis NYC also has a comprehensive listing of community gardening resources: http://www.oasisnyc.net/garden/resources.aspx

One of many community gardens in Brooklyn

And don’t forget farmer’s markets! Try arranging a field trip to one and give students a chance to talk to the farmers who come from just outside the city to supply New Yorkers with fresh food. For more information, check out: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/  or http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/ourfarmers

Do you know of other farm or garden resources we forgot? Please share!

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