Back on the Farm

It’s time for Farm Camp again. My Girl, her best friend, and a gaggle of other local kids get the chance to frolic on the farm at Stone Barns (collecting eggs, herding sheep, picking berries, pulling weeds, harvesting veggies, making healthy snacks, and weaving lanyards). Yesterday was especially wonderful, according to My Girl, because they climbed up the compost heap and then slid down. She was the dirtiest she had ever been in her life, so beautiful I wanted to capture her grimy shins on film.

Stone Barns is exactly where she needs to be. Even though we moved to the suburbs three years ago, she’s a city girl at heart. Yes, she has come to love playing on the grass, can spot poison ivy from a good distance, and knows the names of most of the local songbirds. But what’s wonderful about Stone Barns is that just being there teaches us to consider where our food comes from. It’s different to see the chickens at Stone Barns than the ones in the Children’s Zoo in the Bronx Zoo. The chickens at the farm are just cute and funny as those at the zoo, but fact remains that they’re going to be food. This is an important lesson if you eat meat because it reminds us of our connection and perhaps makes us a bit more grateful for what we have.

Stone Barns grows wonderful fruits and vegetables, teaching about the patience and care it takes to sow, nurture, and harvest plants—that food is seasonal, and that fresh food is a joy. When the kids pick pea pods off the vine and pop them into their mouths it teaches them that the Earth provides for us and that we, in turn have a responsibility to it.

Yes, it’s terrific to have these lessons literally “farmed out” for my daughter, but I have to ask myself how well I am modeling these principals for her. We celebrate food, but until recently when prices began to go up noticeably, I took the full grocery cart for granted. Evan and I have a kind of running joke with some leftovers. We put them in the fridge almost ironically, and then a couple of days later we clean it out asking, “Is this done?” Tonight I threw out two slices of steak, a little bit of broccoli rabe, the remains of a delish strawberry tart, and some mozzarella cheese—and that was a low night.

Perhaps I need to go to farm camp for a couple of weeks too.

1 comment:

SF Mom of One said...

OK, my comment is "that's so cool." Lucky E! Didn't she choose this camp last year?