Summer is here! School is out, and kids are looking for their next adventure! Here at SFC, we are hosting fourteen different summer camp field trips in our Teaching Garden and Teaching Kitchen. Grow Local wants to share some of the activities that children will experience in the Teaching Garden as a part of these summer field trips, as well as how to get your children involved with the joint SFC and Creative Action summer camp.
This summer, children ranging from kindergarten to high school will be exploring the Teaching Garden and learning where their food comes from. For the younger kiddos, one of our favorite activities to do is the Plant Part Play. Not only are kids learning the different parts of the plant (can you name all six??), but they are also identifying which part of the plant their favorite fruits and vegetables are. Carrots = roots, broccoli = flower, and squash = fruit! We have the kids act out the roles of each of the plant parts as well (flowers attract pollinators, so one little camper will have to “flirt” with the bees!). This play turns into lots of giggles as everyone tries to act out their different plant part, and it gets kids thinking about their food in a different way.
The Teaching Garden is an ever-changing space, but for our older elementary school-aged campers we like to have them search around the garden and check off things they find in a Scavenger Hunt. This gives them a little bit more time individually to connect with the gardens and with all of the different fruits and vegetables that are growing. We especially like seeing what the kids come up with since everyone seems to find something unique in the garden!
Our oldest campers think a little more critically about why it’s important to have urban gardens and community gardens from a food security lens. They start with an activity that traces their favorite meals back to the plant origins (ex. hamburgers are made from beef, beef is from a cow, and cows eat grass) and end up realizing that every single ingredient from these foods can be traced back to a plant source. Next, a discussion on food security and food access starts a conversation on what to do when you can’t afford, find, or have time to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in your neighborhood. Most campers are shocked to learn about food deserts, and through different food security scenarios, they think about solutions to some of the challenges that Austinites face when it comes to food access. It’s always impressive to hear the creativity and compassion that the campers have during this activity!
All of the campers who visit the Teaching Garden leave with a better sense of what fruits and vegetables look like in the ground, where their food comes from, and even how to help create a better food system for their communities. If you have elementary school-aged children who you think would enjoy spending time in the Teaching Garden, as well as cooking up some healthy snack with The Happy Kitchen and exploring their artistic and theatric side with Creative Action, check out the week-long summer camp that will be held at SFC during the first week of August. We also host school-year field trips once school starts back up if you are a teacher and want to connect in the fall. Contact our School Garden Manager, Bianca Bidiuc, to set up a time (Bianca@sustainablefoodcenter.org, 512-236-0074 x 121).
Have a great summer!!