Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘farms’

Last month, we got kids thinking about where their trash ends up with Trash Talk and Loop Scoops. But let’s start at the beginning. Where does our food come from? How many places does the slice of cheese on our burger see before it ends up on our plate?

At Brooklyn Children’s Museum, we teach a program for school groups called, “It’s Easy Being Green.” We cover topics like proper recycling, energy efficiency, and sustainable food choices. The food activity splits kids into groups; each group is responsible for piecing together the life cycle of one ingredient on a burger. They’re given cards that each represent one phase in, for instance, the journey of a slice of cheese. Take a look:

The journey starts here at “Sunset Farm”. But why are we starting on a corn field if we’re trying to get to a slice of cheese? 

To feed the cows! Unfortunately, most cows in the US are fed corn rather than the tasty grass that their stomachs were built to digest. The cow’s milk then has to be transported to the cheese factory. That’s two big truck rides so far for one slice of cheese!

The cheese then gets stored in a large warehouse with other grocery goods. 

A truck picks up the cheese from the warehouse and takes it to the grocery store where it’s stocked on shelves and finally awaits your purchase.

Your cheeseburger can now be assembled and enjoyed! And now what? What about the packaging your cheese slice came wrapped up in? What about all your other food scraps? Where do they end up? 

Most of the time, they end up in a landfill.

Now, here’s the challenge: After students have pieced together the journey of their cheese (there are twenty cards or steps for the cheese alone!) they have to figure out how to remove pieces of the production-distribution-consumption-waste system to make the whole thing more sustainable. How can we get this slice of cheese to travel less? This activity can lead to great discussions on Farmer’s Markets, local food, and composting.

Want to try this activity with your class? Email GoGreen[at]Brooklynkids.org for a PDF version of the full set of Hamburger life cycle cards!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Here’s a sustainability epiphany that many kids may be surprised by. Almost all food either comes from plants or the animals that eat plants! It’s easy to look at a carrot or an orange and understand that it came directly from a plant, but what about candy, cheese burgers, or pancakes? It can be hard to make the seed-to-plate connection when your food doesn’t seem to have much to do with a garden or a farm.

Eric Carle’s book “Pancakes, Pancakes!” could be a great tool for little ones starting to think about where their food comes from. Of course, the beautifully crafted pictures in this book offer a nostalgically outdated version of our food system (think pitchforks and red barns vs. combined animal feeding operations and genetically modified seeds), but the book succeeds in getting the wheels turning regarding how much nature goes into a simple meal.

“Pancakes, Pancakes!” follows a young boy on a farm as he follows his mother’s request to track down all the ingredients needed to make his yummy breakfast.

Read Full Post »

In an earlier post, we mentioned farm field trips and the gardens at Wave Hill. Here is more detail about educational farming opportunities at historic houses:

Located in Washington Heights, Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion offers “Garden with History,”  for grades K-12, which teaches students why a colonial home would need its own garden and includes a hands-on activity in the garden.

The Dyckman Farm House, in Inwood, Manhattan, features a program called “Day at the Farmhouse: Seasons on the Farm.” This activity is suggested for grades 3-6 and covers spring planting at the farmhouse. (That program is only available from April to September.)

The Wyckoff Farm House, in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, offers many educational programs, including “Farming and Science” for grades 4-12, which focuses on “organic” and “sustainable” farming in the 17th and 21st centuries. (That program is only available from May to October.)

Do you have any other favorite farm or garden field trips?

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »